Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has left the door open for Emmanuel Adebayor to return to the club, insisting the striker's loan move to Real Madrid will be "good for his confidence".
Adebayor, who signed from Arsenal for £25 million in July 2009, has fallen down the pecking order at Eastlands this season. Mario Balotelli joined last summer and, with Carlos Tevez a permanent fixture in Mancini's starting XI, Adebayor has found opportunities hard to come by.
After making only two Premier League starts this season, Adebayor was widely expected to leave City and the writing was on the wall when Edin Dzeko arrived from Wolfsburg.
Seeking regular first team football, Adebayor completed a move to Real Madrid on Thursday, joining the Spanish giants until the end of the season - although the switch could be made permanent.
Despite his departure, Adebayor is still in City's plans, with Mancini keen for the 26-year-old to get back playing with a smile on his face.
When answering claims that Adebayor felt he lost the faith of the manager, Mancini said: "No, but I think that it's important that when a player plays, he always plays 100% happy. I think that the situation is good for him because with Real Madrid he has a chance to play in the Champions League.
"I think that will be good for his confidence and at the end of the season, we will see. I hope he can play well and score a lot of goals for Real Madrid, and I'd be happy for him."
Asked if Adebayor could return to Eastlands, Mancini said "Why not?"
Adebayor's training ground bust-up with team-mate Kolo Toure led many to question whether the former Gunner was affecting team spirit - though that is something Mancini refutes.
"I told you two weeks ago that these things happen at every club - the difference is that here we don't have protection from photographers," he said.