Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli holds up his AC Milan shirt

Mario Balotelli famously celebrated a goal in his side's 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United by pulling up his shirt to reveal the words, "Why always me?"

But though he has left Manchester City in a £19m move to AC Milan, football's bad boy shows no signs of shedding his controversial image. Asked what he'd miss about England, the 22-year-old was characteristically outspoken.

"Good things? Only when I get to Carrington to train," he said. "So my team-mates and manager. And the bad things? Everything else.

"The press, first. The weather. The food. The way you drive. That's it. I'm happy that I left England."

This from the man who wrote off his Audi R8 en route to training with Man City in August 2010, and was asked by police why he was carrying £5,000 in cash. "Because I'm rich," he told them.

News of his transfer sparked a riot outside a Milan restaurant where the star was dining last week, and police used tear gas to subdue fans. In Manchester, Balotelli's camouflaged Bentley was vandalised the same night.

At a press conference held by AC Milan to parade their new signing at the San Siro stadium, the mood was described as sullen. Dressed in a dark suit offset by large, sparkling earrings, the striker set about putting the boot in to his former host nation.

He reserved his ire mainly for the tabloid newspapers, telling the press: "Ever since I've been there, they've only spoken badly about me."

But when his off-the-pitch antics were raised, the striker became monosyllabic. "What Balotelli antics? There are none. I prefer playing - not talking," said the man who set fire to his bathroom by lighting fireworks, and came to blows with manager Roberto Mancini in repeated training ground bust-ups.

Asked if he'd taken umbrage at being labelled a "bad apple" by AC Milan president and owner Silvio Berlusconi - himself no stranger to controversy - Balotelli remained diplomatic. "This news didn't arrive in England and I only heard when I got here and I can't comment."

When Milan director-general Adriano Galliani denied the former Italian prime minister had ever said such a thing, he was confronted with video footage by the reporter. The full Berlusconi quote ran: "If you put a rotten apple into the dressing room you'll infect everyone else. I've had occasions to make my own mind up on Balotelli as a person and I'd never accept having him in our squad."

But following the birth of Pia, Balotelli's daughter with former girlfriend Raffaella Fico, the star - who is the son of adoptive Italian parents himself - vowed he would play an active role in his daughter's upbringing. Some suspect this may lie behind his return to Italy.

"To be a player for Milan has always been my dream, so I'm very happy. Now I'm at Milan it's very important above all because I am close to my family and friends. Manchester is not so far, but it's not close like Milan."

He paid gracious tribute to the quality of English football, saying: "English football is very beautiful. But I am back in Italy because it was my dream to play for Milan and my family is here.

"The Premier League is an amazing league and I think it is the best, together with the crowd and the pitches. It's an amazing league," he said.

But his brusque parting shot was a return to form. "I don't know in the future if I could come back to England," he said. "But you don't need to understand me. I don't care."

As Balotelli left Manchester for the last time, Manchester City shared a video of the striker's strangest off-pitch moments on their official YouTube channel. Watch it below.

This article was updated November 30, -0001 00:00 AM
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