Balotelli blast for English culture
Mario Balotelli admits he will miss Manchester City after his deadline-day move to AC Milan but the Italian took a firm swipe at English culture.
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The 22-year-old completed his move from the Etihad Stadium to the San Siro on Thursday, and speaking at a press conference Balotelli pulled no punches over his turbulent two-and-a-half-year stint away from his homeland.
He said: "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. 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."
Balotelli refused to directly answer a question from one English newspaper journalist during his press conference.
However he was positive about the league he had left behind.
"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," he said.
"I don't know in the future if I could come back. For the moment I'm here."
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani presented Balotelli with his number 45 shirt before thanking the Barclays Premier League champions for their co-operation in allowing the deal to go ahead.
He 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."
City boss Roberto Mancini, who first gave Balotelli a chance at Inter Milan, brought the unpredictable forward to England in summer 2010 and stood by him after a series of misdemeanours on and off the field.
The manager even vowed to give Balotelli "another 100 chances" after a high-profile training-ground altercation with him last month, but Milan's persistent interest in the player led to his departure.
Asked if there was a weight on his shoulders after joining his boyhood club, the former Inter forward said: "It's an honour and a great opportunity so I hope to grow as a player and I am here as a man. 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."
Balotelli scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for City and played key roles in the 2011 FA Cup success and last year's Premier League title win.