Rio de Janeiro, June 17 (IANS) Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said he was frustrated with Mario Balotelli after the striker’s shirtless goal celebration in the Azzurri’s 2-1 victory over Mexico here in the Confederation Cup.
Chilean referee Enrique Osses cautioned Balotelli after the 21-year-old followed his 77th-minute winner Sunday by repeating the flexed-muscle pose he made famous during last year’s European Championships, reports Xinhua.
The AC Milan forward was immediately benched by Prandelli and the pair exchanged heated words on the Maracana stadium touchline.
“We have already spoken a lot with him,” Prandelli said during the post-match press conference. “Everybody knows how muscly he is. He doesn’t need to take his shirt off anymore to show everybody.”
Under Confederations Cup rules, two yellow cards during the Group stage prompts an automatic one-game suspension.
Prandelli said Balotelli had apologised for the incident, claiming he was not aware of the tournament’s rules regarding cautions.
Balotelli had previously earned the wrath of the coach following his red card during Italy’s 0-0 draw against the Czech Republic in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month.
Despite bemoaning Balotelli’s latest show of indiscipline, he also praised the former Manchester City star’s concentration during Sunday’s match.
“He was switched on and motivated for the full 90 minutes,” Prandelli said. “His hard work was rewarded with the goal at the end.”