Balotelli: I'm homesick and unhappy at City
Mario Balotelli's incessant taste for controversy has led the permanently disaffected Italian striker to declare he is "not happy" in Manchester just a week before the start of the biggest season in Manchester City's history.
After scoring his side's winning goal against Inter Milan in the Dublin Super Cup he declared he wanted out.
Speaking to an Italian television station just moments after arguably his most impressive display of pre-season, the 20-year-old was at pains to stress he is happy with manager Roberto Mancini and his Manchester City team-mates.
His admission that he dislikes the city of Manchester itself - a complaint also levelled at Britain's self-styled capital of cool by Carlos Tevez - will hardly encourage Mancini to return that affection, though, especially as Balotelli's comments were delivered as the City manager held a press conference in which he cautioned that the striker needed to show more maturity.
"I am not happy in Manchester," said the striker. "I do not like the city. With my team-mates and my manager, everything is fine, but the city is not to my tastes. I miss the chance to be at home with my family and with my friends."
Asked whether a move to AC Milan or a return to Inter - the former is rather more likely than the latter, according to sources in Italy - the striker mischievously replied that his home was not Milan, but Brescia. "That is my home," he said. "Milan is a great team and one day, you cannot say what will happen. Inter again? We will see. At the moment, I am attached to Manchester.
"[Milan chief executive] Adriano Galliani says that sooner or later I will go to Milan? I would like to, but we will see. Yes, I have chanted "Forza Milan" in the past, that I was joking. One day, though, maybe."
That a move to neither club has been mooted this summer suggests that Balotelli's comments were borne more of a need to cause trouble than a genuine desire to leave, but his adaptation to life in England has not been smooth.
The striker has complained of boredom despite City's best attempts to provide interests and activities for a 20-year-old who is described as being remarkably childlike in his need for attention. The club have even gone so far as to arrange go-karting lessons for the player, but seemingly to no avail.