'Bad things? The press, the weather, the food': Balotelli aims parting shot at English culture
Mario Balotelli has hailed the Barclays Premier League as the world’s best but admits the only thing he will miss about England is the football.
The former Manchester City striker spoke at a packed-out press conference in Italy yesterday following his transfer to AC Milan.
He aimed swipes at the press in England and even the weather, but was full of praise for the league he had left behind and life in the City camp.
Balotelli spent two and a half years with City, and helped the team win the 2011 FA Cup and the 2011/12 Premier League title.
Now 22, the Italy international 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.”
Asked to expand on the positives and negatives of his English experience, he acknowledged he was at his happiest when at City’s training ground.
“Good things – only when I get to Carrington to train; so my team-mates and manager. And the bad things? Everything else,” he said. “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 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% that it would not happen. I was just being realistic, but now it has happened.”