Roberto Mancini has admitted he is sorry to see Mario Balotelli leave Manchester City as the Italy international completes a move to Milan, ESPN has reported.
Mancini added however that a return to Italy was the right move for Balotelli at the right time, offering the striker the chance to be closer to his family. Mancini backed Balotelli to become of the best players in the world – and described the former Inter forward as being like “one of his children”.
“We are also sad because Mario was an important player for us,” Mancini said. “With Mario we won the Premier League and the FA Cup in two years. But it’s important for him to go back to Italy.
“We love Mario and he deserves to have this chance. For me, no [he was not a problem]. Mario was like another one of my children. But you can be upset with him sometimes, but afterwards he’s a lovely lad. When he left the hotel, they [the players] were really sad. Mario is a good guy,” Mancini added.
Balotelli’s move is nearly complete, ESPN adds, with only the final pieces of paperwork to take care of but they are expected to be a formality. Milan are already offering supporters the chance to buy a Balotelli name and number shirt, while one of the San Siro club’s hierarchy, Umberto Gandini, took to Twitter to confirm the transfer.
In his two-and-a-half years with City, Balotelli made 80 appearances, scoring 30 goals, but managed only three in all competitions in his final six months as at the Etihad Stadium. His final City goal came in late November’s 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic, with Balotelli’s final City appearance as a late substitute against Arsenal in mid-January.
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