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The striker insists he is happy at San Siro as he approaches the one-year anniversary of his arrival from Manchester City and is challenging the Rossoneri to qualify for Europe

Mario Balotelli has leapt to the defence of AC Milan, insisting that they are turning their season around.

Massimiliano Allegri was ousted as Rossoneri boss earlier in January after being unable to guide the Italian giants out of the bottom half of the table following an awful start to their 2013-14 Serie A campaign.

Balotelli, who only joined Milan from Manchester City a year ago on Friday and yet has been linked with Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain in recent weeks, thinks that they are gradually improving under new boss Clarence Seedorf and says that he is satisfied with life at San Siro.

"I am happy to play for this great team, especially in difficult moments, because anyone can get through easy times. It’s in the difficult ones that it’s tough to get the best out of yourself," the Italy international told the club's official website.

"Now we find ourselves in a better situation compared to a while ago, as we are slowly pulling ourselves out.

"I am truly happy to be here, I've had a wonderful year with the Rossoneri and hope to continue like this."

Balotelli has set Milan the goal of securing European football for next season with a top-five finish in Serie A and also hopes his debut World Cup with Italy is a success.

"What do I want from this season?" the 23-year-old striker mused. "I hope we can reach a Serie A position that will allow us to play in Europe and above all to beat Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"As for the World Cup, we’ll see in the summer. I hope for the best, as it will be my first World Cup and it’s the most important tournament for any player."

Seedorf's side currently sit ninth in Serie A, only five points shy of fifth-placed Inter.

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