Balotelli all set to return to Italy




Mario Balotelli, whose wacky antics have filled the British newspapers almost daily in the last two and a half years, is set to return to Italy with AC Milan after a deal was agreed with Manchester City on Tuesday.

Mario Balotelli all set to return to Italy

Mario Balotelli all set to return to Italy

The Italy striker, a boyhood Milan fan, first broke through at rivals Inter Milan and is returning home for a fee media reports have put at 20 million euros after a largely frustrating spell with the English champions.

It is believed Milan have agreed to pay around £20m for the player, with some of the fee being made up by bonuses. City have so far made no comment on the matter. As contracts are yet to be signed, a degree of caution is understandable. However, providing there are no unforeseen hitches, Balotelli will join Milan ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline, thus ending a remarkable two-and-a-half-year stay with the Blues during which time the forward has attracted almost as many headlines for off-the-field incidents as success on it.

A member of City’s starting line-up in the 2011 FA Cup final, when they ended a 35-year wait for a trophy, Balotelli also provided the crucial injury-time pass that set up Sergio Aguero for the dramatic Premier League title-winning goal at the Etihad Stadium last May.

However, he still struggled with discipline on the pitch, picking up 11 yellow cards and he was also sent off in Premier League games against Liverpool and Arsenal, the latter prompting Mancini to suggest he would be willing to sell the striker.

Balotelli impressed for Italy at Euro 2012, notably scoring twice in the semi-final win against Germany. However, he failed to build on that when he returned to domestic action with Manchester City this season and found himself behind Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko.

He has made just two substitute appearances since a dire performance against Manchester United at the beginning of December, when he was handed a surprise start, but did little of note before being substituted in the second half.

Though Mancini and assistant David Platt have repeatedly stressed that Balotelli is going nowhere, the deal is going to be finalized and Balotelli is returning home.

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