Balotelli completes move to AC Milan as return to Italy almost causes a riot

Former Inter Milan striker signs for rivals as wild celebrations by fans end in clashes with police

Majid Mohamed
Thursday 31 January 2013 12:40

Mario Balotelli has completed his £19m move to AC Milan, the Barclays Premier League champions have confirmed.

The controversial striker, who scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for Manchester City, has agreed a four-and-a-half year deal with the Italian club and completed a medical.

Milan also confirmed Balotelli had signed and would be presented to the press as a Rossoneri player on Friday.

Balotelli's arrival in Milan prompted chaotic scenes and celebrations which reportedly ended in a clashes between fans and police as hundreds of Ultras gathered outside a restaurant where the striker met club officials.

City and Milan are reported to have agreed a fee of around £19million, rising to £22million for the player. City signed the Italian international for £24million.

A statement from the Serie A club read: “AC Milan announces that it has acquired from Manchester City Mario Balotelli, who has signed a contract until 30 June 2017.”

City manager Roberto Mancini said he felt the chance for Balotelli to join his boyhood club and return home was too good to pass up.

Mancini said: “We are also so sad because Mario was an important player for us. With Mario we won the Premier League and the FA Cup in two years... but it’s important for Mario to go back to Italy. It will be a good chance for him to stay with his family, to play for Milan. I think he can improve and I’m happy he will become one of the best players in the world.”

Balotelli helped City win the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League title last year. He paid tribute to Mancini, who he had a difficult relationship with.

Balotelli told City's website, “Yes, I said goodbye to everyone at the meal in London before the game at QPR. It was a very emotional for me.

“I spoke with Roberto before I went to speak to the players.

“We spoke for some time about lots of things. He was sad, and I was too.

“But it was a good conversation. I love Roberto, he has been very important for my career, and I will always thank him for having trust and faith in me.

“Being at City was an important part of my life and career. I needed to grow up like a player and as a person and it has been a very good experience for me.”

Balotelli also paid tribute to his former team-mates and the City supporters: “For sure I will remember my brilliant team-mates, the manager and all the supporters.

“They are the best, they were great with me and I will always have a very special place in my heart for City, it's a great club with a great future.

“I thank them for all of their support of me. Maybe one day we will see each other again.”

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