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The AC Milan president issues an apology to the Manchester City striker after using the insult at the Ballon d'Or ceremony last week, but stops short of saying he remains a target

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has apologised for calling Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli a “rotten apple” but refused to declare his interest in signing the striker.

Berlusconi made the comments at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, saying that the former Inter man could “infect every group where he goes, even Milan.”

However, the controversial politician retracted his comments but dispelled any suggestions the self-confessed Rossoneri fan could be moving to the San Siro.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, he said: "What I said was based on the fact that I feel positive people are useful in the changing room.

"I was not referring to Balotelli and I apologise if it was taken as a slur against him.

"Could he still come to Milan? No one from my club has held any talks with him, and neither [vice-president Adriano] Galliani or I has identified him as a transfer target."

Balotelli had been linked to a move away from the Etihad Stadium after a number of incidents in his two-and-a-half-year spell, with AC Milan rumoured to be freeing up transfer funds by selling strikers Alexandre Pato and Robinho.

However, Berlusconi looked to keep his cards close to his chest when asked if Milan would be adding to their squad in the transfer window.

"I hope so," he added. "I am pestering Galliani because there are a few players I would like us to sign, ones we could bring in by the end of January.

"I won't name names, I've been told not to. Galliani told me, 'President, don't name names if you want us to succeed'."

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