Roberto Mancini says he made the final decision to sell Mario Balotelli to AC Milan this week, report ESPN

Balotelli ended his two-and-a-half year stay in England as he returned to his native Italy on Wednesday to sign for the Rossneri in a £19 million deal despite Mancini’s assertions that he wouldn’t sold during the transfer window.

However, the City boss ultimately changed his mind towards the end of January after an approach from the Serie A giants and admits it was tough to let his protege go and end a memorable spell at the Etihad Stadium.

“It was difficult,” he said.

“It was only my decision. Until one week ago it was impossible [to sell him] because we didn’t receive any offers.Instead in the last three days Milan started to talk with the club and made the offer.”

Mancini played down rumours that he was happy to see the enigmatic 22-year-old striker depart, insisting that moving to the San Siro could well be the making of Balotelli in the long run and praising his contributions to City despite a bumpy final few months at the club.

“We thought it was good for everyone. For Mario, it could be a big chance to go back to Italy and play for a top club like Milan and we hope it will be important for him. For the club, we can get back some money.

“We are not happy. Mario did well, maybe not in the last three or four months because he had big problems with injury, but he did well because he helped the team win the Premier League and the FA Cup. We are sad [to see him go] but this is football.”

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