The AC Milan striker, who is relishing the return of Clarence Seedorf as head coach, is backing his former side to get the better of the Catalan giants in the Champions League
Mario Balotelli believes Manchester City are capable of beating Barcelona in the Champions League last 16.
Balotelli left the Etihad Stadium side for San Siro in January 2013, having failed to get out of the group stages of the competition with the Premier League side.
But the striker is still fond of the club, and will be rooting for Manuel Pellegrini's side against the Spanish side.
"City can definitely beat Barcelona, and I really hope they do," he said at a Puma boot launch in Barcelona. "I have a lot of good friends there, so I will be cheering for Manchester City. But it will be a very difficult game."
Milan's poor form has seen them slide into the bottom half of Serie A, with Sunday's 4-3 defeat at lowly Sassuolo resulting in the sacking of Massimiliano Allegri.
However, the announcement of Clarence Seedorf as the new boss at Milanello has been welcomed by the club's star striker.
"It was disappointing to see Allegri leave, but Seedorf has come in and it is very exciting to work with somebody like him," Balotelli said.
"Seedorf's record with Milan can be transmitted to the players. It is a good thing that he brings that experience with him."
Balotelli's former City manager Roberto Mancini is another feature of the knockout stages after a dramatic late win over Juventus saw his Galatasaray side progress at the Old Lady's expense, and Balotelli admitted that his loyalties were split when watching the win-or-bust clash in Turkey.
"I was just hoping for a spectacular game really. I wanted Juventus to do well because I am Italian, but I had a very good experience with Mancini at City, so I want him to do well also."
Mario Balotelli was speaking at PUMA's 2014 Nature of Believing event in Barcelona which featured the launch of the new evoPOWER football boot.
PUMA Power players Cesc Fabregas, Marco Reus and Thierry Henry put their football skills to the test on the evoPOWER wall, the custom built football simulator that utilises Hawk Eye technology to measure players’ power and accuracy.
evoPOWER was inspired by the freedom of movement of a bare foot and the players showcased their skills and the boots' performance enhancing technology through four interactive challenges.
For more information: www.puma.com/footballclub/global/en/bootlab/evopower