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Mario Balotelli wanted Italy stay

Mario Balotelli is yet to kick a ball in anger for Manchester City, but the Italian has already confirmed they were not his first choice.

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Balotelli flew in to Manchester on Friday to put the finishing touches to his reported £24 million transfer from Inter Milan. He is not eligible to play for City in their Premier League opener with Tottenham on Saturday, but could make his debut against West Ham the following week.

However, even before making his debut it would appear the forward did not really want to make the move to Eastlands.

"I'm sorry that I'm leaving Inter and Italy because I would have preferred to continue my professional career in my own country," Balotelli told his personal website.

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

"It's been a difficult year: 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!"

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