• Serie A

Balotelli admits he won't miss the English press

ESPN staff
February 1, 2013

Mario Balotelli has thanked Manchester City's fans for their support, but the AC Milan striker says he will not miss England.

Balotelli, 22, has returned to Italy after falling out of favour at City, where he had to contend for a place in the starting line-up with Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko.

Speaking in a press conference to introduce him as a Milan player, Balotelli criticised various aspects of English culture, but admitted he was sad to leave the Premier League behind.

"I have to say thanks to all the City fans because they've been very nice to me and they always supported me in the good and in the bad moments," Balotelli said. "And I have to thank my team-mates, and the manager. Everything else, I'm happy that I left England.

"Good things - only when I get to Carrington to train. So my team-mates and manager. And the bad things? Everything else. The press, first. The weather. The food. The way you drive. That's it.

"To be honest the Premier League is an amazing league and I think it is the best. The crowd and the pitch ... it's an amazing league. I don't know in the future if I could come back. For the moment I'm here."

In signing for Milan, Balotelli has joined his boyhood club. The former Inter Milan forward now hopes he is in the right environment to mature and realise his potential.

"It's an honour and a great opportunity so I hope to grow as a player and I am here as a man," he said. "I hope to stay as here as long as possible.

"It has always been a dream for me to play for Milan and I am happy to be back near my family but I would rather play than talk about it."

Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani also spoke, thanking City for their co-operation during negotiations to sign Balotelli.

Galliani said: "As a club we are happy to bring back our Italian player after long negotiations and have to thank Manchester City in helping this transfer to go through. It was the most complicated in my career.

"We are happy that Balotelli has joined the team he supported as a boy and it has been a dream of mine for a long to bring the player to the club. I always said it was 99.9 per cent that it would not happen.

"I was just being realistic, but now it has happened."

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