Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has received a four-game ban for his altercation with a referee during last weekend’s 3-1 defeat against Udinese.
The Argentine’s suspension represent a hammer blow to Napoli’s Serie A title hopes with the league’s top scorer now due to miss upcoming games against Verona, Inter, Bologna and Roma.
Higuain was shown a second yellow card with 15 minutes remaining for kicking out at Felipe, prompting the striker to scream at and put hands on the referee.
The 28-year-old continued to remonstrate with the official and had to be forced from the field in tears by team-mates and opposition players.
The Italian football authorities have come down hard on the Serie A top goalscorer, banning him for the next four games and handing him a €20,000 fine, with just seven matches of the season left.
The striker was defended by Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri after the game, who insisted that “the league has seen much worse”.
Napoli currently sit six points behind Serie A leaders Juventus with seven games remaining. Higuain has netted 30 of his side’s 63 league goals this term.