Balotelli Given Two-Game Ban

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Mario Balotelli will be banned for the first two matches of the new Ligue 1 season - if the Italy international remains in French football.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed on Thursday that Balotelli has been hit with a two-match suspension.

Balotelli was given the ban after the LFP ruled he dived in a match against Caen, leading to Ismael Diomande being sent off.

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Nice forward Balotelli is out of contract at the club, having spent two seasons rebuilding his reputation in Ligue 1.

New Nice coach Patrick Vieira has said he expects Balotelli to report for pre-season training despite speculation over his future.

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Ligue 1 rivals Marseille are reportedly keen on Balotelli, who has also been linked with a Serie A return to either Napoli or Roma.