Soccer: Allegri tells Balotelli to grow up
'Not a kid anymore'24 September, 16:18
"Mario Balotelli isn't a kid anymore, he's 23 years old, and he has to change," Allegri said.
"He has the potential to be a world-class player but he has to change his attitude to referees," he said, adding that his player would probably "get better protection" from refs if he did.
On Monday Serie A's sporting judge gave Balotelli a two-match ban for directing abusive and intimidatory language at the referee on top of the automatic one-game suspension he got for being sent off after the final whistle after a second yellow card for dissent.
The volatile Italy centre-forward, whose career has been dogged by incidents of indiscipline, is set to miss Milan's visit to Bologna on Wednesday, their home match against Sampdoria on Saturday and next week's showdown with champions Juventus. He also risks not being called up for Italy's next game in accordance with the code of conduct coach Cesare Prandelli has imposed on the national team and applied by dropping Balotelli and other players in the past.
Allegri said he was "confident" Balotelli would not endanger his prospects of playing in next year's World Cup.
"He has common sense. He'll learn his lesson. I can give him a hand but he has to help himself too," said the Tuscan coach.