Galliani hails arrival of Balotelli
Soccer:AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has described the imminent signing of Mario Balotelli as a “dream come true”.
The controversial Italy international is poised to join the Serie A club from Manchester City after arriving in Milan to undergo a medical.
The 22-year-old is then expected to sign a four-and-a-half-year contract after Milan agreed a fee believed to be worth €22 million, rising to €25.5 million, with the Premier League champions.
A large group of reporters, photographers and fans gathered at Malpensa Airport were disappointed when Balotelli was escorted out of a different exit than expected after a delayed flight to Italy, but Galliani has now spoken.
Quoted on the club’s website, acmilan.com, he 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 have agreed a price which leaves City just short of the €28 million they paid Milan’s arch-rivals Inter in August 2010.
Balotelli, who pulled out of the squad for City’s goalless draw at QPR on Tuesday, was due in Milan in the morning but he arrived later than planned.
After his medical Balotelli was expected to meet Milan officials, with arrangements to be made for his official unveiling.
It remains to be seen whether he will be available to play in Sunday’s game against Udinese at the San Siro, as he has featured little in the past two months.
He has made only two substitute appearances since a dismal performance in the derby against Manchester United on December 9th due to a combination of selection issues and illness.
During that time he also threatened to take City to a Premier League tribunal in a dispute over a club fine, only to drop the challenge, and had a training-ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini.
They were merely the latest in a long line of off-field controversies to have blighted his spell at the Etihad Stadium, but ones which ultimately hastened his exit.
He leaves City after scoring 30 goals in 80 appearances and after helping the club win the FA Cup and Premier League title.
His contribution was not insignificant but he will be equally well remembered for his four red cards, clashes with team-mates, brushes with discipline and other misdemeanours.
Even Mancini, who afforded his former Inter protege great latitude, felt the time was right for a change.
Speaking after the game at QPR, Mancini said: “It is difficult because I lost one important striker and that could be important in the next 14 games. But it is important for Mario - to be back in Italy, back with his family and to play for Milan.
“This is for Mario because we love Mario and he deserves to have this chance.”