English Premiership

Balotelli a bad apple

2014-10-14 09:31
Mario Balotelli (Supplied)
Mario Balotelli (Supplied)

Cape Town - Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi believes the club are heading in the right direction after getting rid of 'bad apple' Mario Balotelli.

The former Manchester City man switched the San Siro for Liverpool's Anfield in the off-season, returning to the Premier League for a fee of 16 Million after an indifferent 18 months with the Rossoneri.

And Berlusconi, who revealed he never wanted the 24-year-old at Milan, is confident the club are better off without the enigmatic Balotelli and fully expects them to get back to their best following a busy off-season.

"I remember he was bought against my advice," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We have many champions: [Jeremy] Menez, [Keisuke] Honda, [Stephan] El Shaarawy, [Fernando] Torres, [Nigel] De Jong...

"The base is there. And we no longer have a rotten apple in the dressing room."

An eighth-place finish in Serie A last season means the Rossoneri will miss out on European football for the first time since the 1998/99 season, but Berlusconi believes the club should target the 2015/16 Champions League campaign, with the final taking place at the San Siro.

"It's too early to give a vote on the team but I think we can give a more complete assessment from January onwards," he said.

"Our goal is to return to Europe. We want to build a winning side.

"I think there are cycles in football, with years of success, then breaks, then back to winning. But the fans should rest assured - the team is already competitive and we'll soon be leaders in Europe again.

"The 2016 Champions League final is in Milan. Why shouldn't we dream of being there?"

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