Palmeiras midfielder Felipe Melo has received a five-game suspension for an obscene gesture towards Santos fans during their Brazilian Serie A clash in October.
The former Brazil international showed his middle finger to home supporters in his team’s 2-0 loss at the Vila Belmiro Stadium on October 9th.
Brazil’s highest sports tribunal, the STJD, found the 36-year-old guilty of improper conduct during a hearing in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
He will miss Palmeiras’ matches against Vasco da Gama (away), Corinthians (home), Bahia (away), Gremio (home) and Fluminense (away), serving a blow to Palmeiras’ hopes of back-to-back Serie A titles.
The Sao Paulo outfit are currently second in the 20-team top-flight standings, nine points behind Flamengo with eight rounds remaining.
Palmeiras officials vowed to appeal the decision and have argued that Melo was heavily provoked by Santos fans.
The ex-Juventus, Fiorentina and Inter Milan enforcer have had a long history of disciplinary problems, having been dismissed 20 times throughout his 18-year professional career.
He was infamously shown a straight red card for stamping on Arjen Robben in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, as the Netherlands dumped Brazil out of the tournament with a 2-1 win in Port Elizabeth.