Balotelli poised to complete Milan move
7:05am Thursday 31st January 2013 in © Press Association 2014
Mario Balotelli has said he would have run to Milan to sign for his boyhood club.
The controversial Manchester City striker was back in Italy completing the formalities of his move to AC Milan on Wednesday night. The 22-year-old arrived in the city in the afternoon and was swamped by reporters, photographers and fans as he was taken to a clinic to undergo his medical.
Balotelli also briefly spoke to the Milan Channel after landing at the city's Malpensa Airport, saying: "I'd wanted to play for Milan for such a long time. Obviously I played for other teams and couldn't come. But when there was the chance, I ran."
There had been no official confirmation from the Serie A club by early this morning that Balotelli had formally signed the four-and-a-half contract the Serie A club had lined up, but that did not stop their website publishing photographs of the player wearing a Rossoneri scarf and giving other details of his arrival.
Balotelli was also presented with a team shirt bearing his name and his squad number 45, the same number he wore at first club Inter Milan and at City.
Milan vice-president and chief executive Adriano Galliani, who accompanied Balotelli on the flight from England, said: "I certainly do not have to introduce Mario Balotelli. It is a dream come true and something that we all wanted, with the president Silvio Berlusconi at the forefront.
"With the arrival of Mario, we have strengthened our team a lot. We have worked so hard and Mario has been in our hearts for a long time and finally we have succeeded in signing him."
Balotelli had been linked with Milan since the transfer window opened at the start of the month with both Galliani and Berlusconi regularly speaking about the player.
It seemed City's valuation of Balotelli might have been a problem but the clubs are reported to have agreed a price of around £19million, rising to £22million. That leaves City just short of the £24million they paid Milan's arch-rivals Inter in August 2010.
It remains to be seen whether Balotelli will be available to make his Milan debut in Sunday's game against Udinese at the San Siro.