• Premier League

Balotelli 'costs as much as the Mona Lisa'

ESPN staff
December 6, 2012
Mario Balotelli's agent has compared the striker to the Mona Lisa © Getty Images

Mario Balotelli's agent has reiterated that the Manchester City striker is unlikely to return to Serie A in the near future as he does not believe any Italian side could afford him.

Italy international Balotelli, 22, has regularly been linked with a return to the country, with Inter Milan, his former club, and AC Milan, the club he supported as a child, said to maintain an interest.

His lack of game time in recent weeks - he has started only one of City's last eight matches - has served to reignite the speculation.

Milan president Silvio Berlusconi insisted this week that they were serious about signing the striker. "Balotelli is not a dream," he said ahead of the club's Champions League clash with Zenit. Asked after the match why he had made the remark, he replied: "Because I never dream."

Nonetheless, talk has persisted in Italy that Milan are hoping to secure a January loan agreement with a view to a permanent deal in the summer, but agent Mino Raiola believes the cost of the deal - he is valued at around €25 million, with a further €5 million a year in wages - would be prohibitive.

"Balotelli costs as much as the Mona Lisa and no Italian team can afford him," Raiola told Sky Sport Italia. "The City owners have been very clear: they do not want to sell him."

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