'I am very, very happy with Mario Balotelli': Roberto Mancini refutes suggestions striker will be sold
Manchester City believe that AC Milan could come in with a £24m bid for Mario Balotelli this month
Friday 11 January 2013
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has once again attempted to quash rumours linking controversial striker Mario Balotelli with a move back to Italy.
Balotelli's future has been the subject of much speculation due to his fringe role this season as well as a training ground bust-up with Mancini last week.
Mancini, who has has repeatedly backed Balotelli throughout a long line of controversies, immediately played down the confrontation in last Friday's press conference and insisted he was prepared to give his fellow Italian "another 100 chances" at the club.
That has not stopped reports from suggesting AC Milan are willing to give Balotelli a way out of Eastlands in the January transfer window but Mancini was indignant when asked about the latest transfer speculation.
"No, it is not true. I am very, very happy (with Mario)," he said today.
Former club Inter Milan have waded into the equation, with sporting director Piero Ausilio claiming they have first refusal on Balotelli, who moved from the San Siro to City in August 2010.
"The right of first refusal is there," Ausilio told Italian magazine Panorama.
"If Inter decide to exercise it, it will be a choice that will be made if City should decide to sell him.
"Balotelli technically can fit alongside any attacker."
Balotelli had missed four games with a virus prior to his return as a substitute against Watford in the FA Cup last week.
He made a surprise appearance for City's Under-21s on Monday and scored two goals in a friendly against Blackburn, while the 22-year-old has also dyed his hair blond this week.
Asked if this was a fresh start for Balotelli, Mancini said: "Next question! No, I hope. He went with the under-21s because he needed a game.
"After 40 days without a game, he needed one game. He trained well and I hope this year will be different."
Latest in Sport
Juventus vs Real Madrid - Champions League LIVE! Latest score and updates from semi-final first leg
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1 player ratings: Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata on target - but who scored highest?
Juventus vs Real Madrid match report: Carlos Tevez gives Juve the edge after goals from Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo
Gareth Bale performance slammed by Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Lee Dixon: 'His team-mates can't be happy'
David Beckham reveals secret of his success: I 'stayed in to watch Match of the Day' rather than go out with friends on a Saturday night
- 1 Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
- 3 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 4 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
- 5 Chinese theme park sets up 'death simulator' where volunteers can experience being cremated
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils