Mario Balotelli’s Premier League departure will have been met by a variety of contrasting opinions. Love or hate him, the Italian has made a huge statement during his time in England, creating headlines both on and off the pitch.
The reported £19 million deal was confirmed by both Manchester City and AC Milan yesterday lunchtime. Balotelli’s return to the Serie A will be complete by the end of afternoon, providing he passes a medical.
After a controversial two and a half years at City, patience having snapped at his antics on and off the pitch. The 22-year-old clashed regularly with Mancini during his time at the Etihad Stadium, not least on the training pitch on 3 January when they were photographed grappling with each other after an altercation. But the manager insisted the forward’s departure had proved emotional for him and his squad. This deal could provide risky for Milan considering the players temperament.
Balotelli has always expressed his love for the club, even whilst playing for rivals Inter. Mancini suggested he had sanctioned the transfer for the good of the player, describing the maverick forward as “like another one of my children” and saying he could become one of the best players in the world when restored to Italy.
City do not envisage replacing the out-going forward, with Mancini – who did not rule out working with the player again in the future – admitting it constituted a risk on one level to sanction the departure of one of their quartet of forwards.
I wish Balotelli the best of luck in Italy; the Premier League will certainly be slightly less exciting as a result of his departure.