Zlatan Ibrahimovic banned for swearing at linesman

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been banned for three games for swearing at a linesman, Serie A said today, as it handed down a second hefty suspension on the Swede in two appearances.

Ibrahimovic was dismissed for insulting the official late on in Milan's 2-1 win at Fiorentina on Sunday as he returned from a two-match ban for striking an opponent in his previous outing.

Serie A said in a statement the sanction was for an "offensive remark" to the linesman even though the player said after the match he was swearing at himself.

Milan did surprisingly well without their top forward during his last ban, which he had reduced to two games from three on appeal, beating champions Inter Milan 3-0 with strike partner Alexandre Pato scoring twice.

The Rossoneri, who lead Napoli by three points, are closing in on their first Serie A title since 2004 but Ibrahimovic's absence for half the six matches remaining still comes as a blow and they quickly said in a statement they would appeal.

Ibrahimovic's recent loss of control mirrors a drop off in his performance levels after he virtually carried Massimiliano Allegri's side in the first few months of the season following his move from Barcelona.

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