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Page last updated at 21:27 GMT, Friday, 13 August 2010 22:27 UK

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli admits Italy hope

Mario Balotelli in action for Inter
Mario Balotelli was targeted by sections of the Inter fans last season

Manchester City's new signing Mario Balotelli said he would have preferred to continue playing in Italy.

The striker became City's latest big-name signing after a move, reportedly worth £24m, from Italian champions and Champions League winners Inter Milan.

But the 20-year-old said he felt he had to leave after a "difficult year".

"I'm sorry that I'm leaving Inter and Italy because I would have preferred to continue my career in my own country," read a statement on his own website.

"I'm going where I hope to find the space I need to play which is very important to me: I need to play, to make mistakes, to learn and to play again. As well as a calm environment around me."

I've often been under pressure and on the receiving end of criticism that at times has irritated me

Mario Balotelli

Balotelli endured a fractious relationship with Inter fans and former boss Jose Mourinho, who was critical of his attitude on and off the pitch.

The Italy international hit the headlines following Inter's Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona in April, tossing his shirt to the ground at the end of the match in protest against the abuse from certain sections of the home fans at the San Siro.

Mourinho - now manager at Real Madrid - said after the match: "I can't motivate him, I can't educate him, this or that - next year it's best if Mourinho goes and not Balotelli."

However, Balotelli believes his new surroundings in Manchester, along with the influence of former Inter boss Roberto Mancini, can inspire him to success in the Premier League.

"It's been a difficult year," he told

"I've recognised my mistakes, but I think I've often been under pressure and on the receiving end of criticism that at times has irritated me.


"Now all I'm thinking about is playing well for my new club and in the Premier League. I really want to give it my best try!"

Balotelli is City's fifth summer signing following the arrivals of Aleksander Kolarov, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng, while a deal for Aston Villa's England midfielder James Milner is imminent.

The Palermo-born forward made his Inter debut in December 2007 under Mancini's reign and scored 20 goals in 59 appearances for the Milan-based club.

"I'd like to thank my family, who have supported me with so much patience and affection, through both the good times and the difficult periods," added Balotelli, who made his full Italy debut in the 1-0 defeat by Ivory Coast at Upton Park on Tuesday.

"I also want to thank club chairman Moratti, the team I've shared so many victories with, the fans who've supported me, my entourage and my friends."

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see also
Man City complete Balotelli deal
13 Aug 10 |  Man City
Will Balotelli gamble reap rewards?
13 Aug 10 |  Man City
Man City close in on double swoop
07 Aug 10 |  Man City
Man City hopeful over Balotelli
26 Jul 10 |  Man City
Balotelli & Maicon 'not for sale'
15 Jul 10 |  Europe

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