• Premier League

Mancini: I decided to sell Balotelli

ESPN staff
February 1, 2013
Roberto Mancini feels it was the right decision to sell Mario Balotelli © Getty Images

Roberto Mancini said it was his decision to sell Mario Balotelli to AC Milan and believes it could be the best outcome for all concerned.

But the Manchester City manager was sad to see his protege leave after Balotelli's eventful two-and-a-half year stay in England was ended by his £19 million move.

Mancini had always insisted Balotelli would not be sold during the transfer window before changing his mind at the end of January.

"It was difficult," he said. "It was only my decision. Until one week ago it was impossible [to sell him] because we didn't receive any offers. Instead in the last three days Milan started to talk with the club and made the offer.

"We thought it was good for everyone. For Mario, it could be a big chance to go back to Italy and play for a top club like Milan and we hope it will be important for him. For the club, we can get back some money."

Mancini denied he was pleased to see Balotelli go and praised the 22-year-old for his contribution during his time with City.

He added: "We are not happy. Mario did well, maybe not in the last three or four months because he had big problems with injury, but he did well because he helped the team win the Premier League and the FA Cup. We are sad [to see him go] but this is football."

Mancini backed Balotelli to realise his potential with the San Siro, explaining: "He has everything, always. He has quality. It is important he can understand this."

Balotelli's departure leaves City with only three senior strikers for the remainder of the season but Mancini said he is not worried now he is reduced to picking from Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez.

He said: "Now we have three strikers but we have only the Premier League and the FA Cup, I think that could be enough."

John Guidetti could become the fourth forward in Mancini's squad but the Sweden striker, who has not played first-team football since March because of a debilitating virus, is not in contention yet.

Mancini said: "In this moment, he is not ready to play. Maybe in the next weeks, it could be possible."

The City manager said he did not enter the market on transfer deadline day to try and replace Balotelli, adding: "Also it is difficult to get another good player."

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