Mario Balotelli has lauded Manchester City’s fans as “the best” after completing his move to AC Milan.
The Italy international brought to a close a headline-grabbing two-and-a-half year stay in the Premier League by sealing a £20 million return to his homeland on Thursday.
And, in a farewell interview with the club’s official website, the 22-year-old looked back fondly at his time at City and thanked the supporters in particular.
“For sure I will remember my brilliant team-mates, the manager and all the supporters,” he said.
“They are the best, they were great with me and I will always have a very special place in my heart for City, it’s a great club with a great future.
“I thank them for all of their support of me. Maybe one day we will see each other again. I think to win the Premier League was a very special moment, and I am proud to have been a part of that.
“I will remember, too, the song that City fans had for me. It was special for me and I always liked to hear it. I hope they can still sing it sometimes still, even if I’m not there.
“Someone told me the fans sang it at QPR; that is nice.”
As Goal.com exclusively revealed on Wednesday, the two clubs had been locked in discussions over a proposed move for nearly two months, but the deal was only given the green light this week.
And, having sealed a move to the club he reportedly supported as a youngster, Balotelli expressed thanks to City boss Roberto Mancini for overseeing his development.
He added: “Yes, I said goodbye to everyone at the meal in London before the game at Queens Park Rangers. It was a very emotional for me.
“I spoke with Roberto before I went to speak to the players. We spoke for some time about lots of things.
“He was sad, and I was too. But it was a good conversation. I love Roberto, he has been very important for my career, and I will always thank him for having trust and faith in me.
“Being at City was an important part of my life and career. I needed to grow up like a player and as a person and it has been a very good experience for me
“I will always be interested in Manchester City and their fortunes. I really hope that City can win the league again this year and beat United. I think there are great players at the Club and a great manager too.
“The club will be very successful in the future and that makes me happy.”