Updated: Monday, 6th April 2020 @ 9:57pm

'They are the best': Mario Balotelli says goodbye with sweet nothings to Roberto Mancini and Manchester City

'They are the best': Mario Balotelli says goodbye with sweet nothings to Roberto Mancini and Manchester City

By Pippa Field

He may have swapped Manchester for Milan, but former City bad boy Mario Balotelli spoke only of fondness for the Blues as he delivered his parting words.

The Italian’s £19m move to Italian giants AC Milan was completed on Wednesday as he signed a four-and-a-half deal, bringing an end to his colourful City career.

But despite admitting he practically ran to join his new club, Balotelli revealed he had nothing but affection for his former employers.

“For sure I will remember my brilliant team-mates, the manager and all the supporters,” he said.

“They are the best, they were great with me and I will always have a very special place in my heart for City, it’s a great club with a great future.

“I thank them for all of their support of me. Maybe one day we will see each other again.”

Although often a cause of frustration with his erratic and at times destructible behaviour, the 22-year-old was still a popular player at the Etihad.

And he reserved a special mention for the City fans, who created their own special jingle about their man and his unique antics.

"I love the fans at Manchester City – they are the best in England, maybe the world,” he added.

“I will remember, too, the song that City fans had for me. It was special for me and I always liked to hear it. I hope they can still sing it sometimes still, even if I’m not there.

“Someone told me the fans sang it at QPR – that is nice.”

Super Mario bagged himself 30 goals in 80 appearances, picking up a Premier League medal and the FA Cup and Community Shield at City.

The Italian’s pass to Sergio Aguero set up the goal that handed City the title, and the player counted that moment among his highlights, alongside thumping rivals Manchester United 6-1.

“Being at City was an important part of my life and career. I needed to grow up like a player and as a person and it has been a very good experience for me,” he said.

"I think to win the Premier League was a very special moment, and I am proud to have been a part of that.

"And the 6-1 win at Old Trafford was also a big moment in my life.

“I know what that meant to the supporters, the joy it gave them. To have scored in that game and been part of that history will always live with me.”

The striker, who bid farewell to his teammates at the QPR pre-match meal, admitted that saying goodbye to boss and fellow countryman Roberto Mancini had been emotional.

 “I spoke with Roberto before I went to speak to the players,” he explained.

“We spoke for some time about lots of things. He was sad, and I was too.

“But it was a good conversation. I love Roberto, he has been very important for my career, and I will always thank him for having trust and faith in me.”

Image courtesy of Wiki Commons, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.