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Soccer-Balotelli fined for gesture at Cagliari fans

Reuters

(adds fine, automatic suspension)

Jan 27 (Reuters) - Maverick striker Mario Balotelli has been fined 10,000 euros ($13,700) for making a provocative gesture to rival Cagliari supporters after scoring against them in AC Milan's 2-1 win on Sunday.

Serie A's disciplinary tribunal said Balotelli had "angered the crowd with a provocative and insulting gesture" after claiming the equaliser from a free kick.

Balotelli was also booked for the eighth time this season over the incident and will miss Milan's next league game at home to Torino through accumulated yellow cards.

The 23-year-old has already served a three-match ban this season after being sent off for insulting match officials at the end of the game at home to Napoli.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said on Monday that Balotelli needed love and would eventually learn from his mistakes.

"Balotelli will learn," Prandelli told reporters. "He will need a lot of love, he is a guy who we give a lot to and is important for Milan."

The AC Milan forward added to his long list of misdemeanours on Sunday when he was booked for making what Italian media described as a vulgar gesture with his hand to Cagliari supporters after scoring in his side's 2-1 win.

He was booked for the incident and then got into an altercation with Cagliari defenders.

Prandelli, who has dropped Balotelli in the past for misbehaving with his club, said he was encouraged by comments from new Milan coach Clarence Seedorf.

"Seedorf has used the right words with Balotelli," said Prandelli. "I'm sure that with his help we can get the best out of Mario." (Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Ed Osmond) ($1 = 0.7313 euros) (Reporting by Brian Homewood)

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