Italy return tricky for Mario

Italy return tricky for Mario

Published Jan. 11, 2012 7:16 a.m. ET

Balotelli joined City in a big-money move from Inter Milan in 2010 and struggled to make a sustained impact during his debut season in England.

However, while continuing to attract plenty of headlines for his off-field behaviour, the 21-year-old has appeared more at home on the pitch this term and is into double figures for goals.

He has often been linked with move back to Italy, with the likes of former club Inter, AC Milan and Napoli rumoured to be interested in signing the gifted forward.

Balotelli recently admitted he has no plans to leave the Etihad Stadium and his representative Mino Raiola could envisage the Italy international prolonging his time with the Premier League leaders.


"He is well in Manchester and perhaps he'll extend his contract," Raiola told La Nazione.

"My feeling is that it won't be easy for him to return to Serie A. He is too 'big' for Italy, in every sense.

"Mario has to go back as the top of the class. Whoever wants him has to bet everything on him, and welcome him like (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, (Lionel) Messi or (Samuel) Eto'o.

"But then I say, if Inter and AC Milan have difficulties in finding 30million euros (£24.8million) to invest on (Carlos) Tevez, how can they pay 60million euros (£49.5million) or 70million euros (£57.8million) for Balotelli?

"This is the value of Balotelli, he's the number one. He will become one of the strongest in the world. City will never give him away."