'Bad boy' Balotelli joins AC Milan from Manchester City
Manchester City's Mario Balotelli set to leave England after AC Milan agree a deal to sign the striker on a four-and-a-half-year contract.
Mario Balotelli's chequered career at Manchester City was set to come to an end on Tuesday when the English champions agreed to sell the temperamental Italian striker to AC Milan for a reported 20 million euros.
"Mario Balotelli to Milan, the player will come tomorrow for his medical and sign his contract," the in-house Milan Channel announced.
City paid Inter Milan £22 million (25.7m euros, $34.5 million) for the Italy striker in August 2010, but his time at the club has been peppered with controversy both on and off the pitch.
Now the Premier League club will receive 20 million euros (£17.1m, $26.9m)-- 4 million euros a year for five years -- plus a possible 3 million euros in bonuses.
The fee is significantlly lower than the 33 million euros initially demanded by City.
Balotelli, 22, will sign a four-and-a-half-year contract, with an annual net salary of 4.5 million euros, keeping him with Milan until the summer of 2017.
The striker, who scored three times for Italy on their run to the final of Euro 2012, returns to his home country in a bid to relaunch a career that has gradually lost momentum this season.
He has scored just once in 14 Premier League appearances this season, as well as once in the League Cup and once in the Champions League.
As recently as last Friday, City manager Roberto Mancini had insisted that Balotelli would not be leaving England this month.
"For two years it's always the question. It's not true. Mario's staying here. We haven't had any requests about Mario or any other player," Mancini said.
"Mario has another three years on his contract.
"We don't have enough players, we are 18 players now and we can't sell any players.
But now Balotelli is set to depart after a two-and-a-half-year spell at City that will be better remembered for a plague of controversial incidents.
At the beginning of this month, he was pictured apparently having a bust-up with Mancini during a training session, while in December he tried to take his club to court to contest their decision to fine him for his poor disciplinary record last season before eventually dropping his appeal.
Balotelli was also caught up in numerous off-field incidents, including having to escape from his own house in October 2011 after starting a fire caused by letting off fireworks in his bathroom.