Mancini dismisses Balotelli exit rumors

The 22-year-old has been the subject of interest from Serie A giants Inter and AC Milan in recent weeks, but the striker's current manager has insisted he will not be leaving.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has dismissed speculation linking Mario Balotelli with a move to Italy, insisting he is "very, very happy" with the striker.

The 22-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to Serie A after being involved in a bust-up with Roberto Mancini during a Jan. 3 training session, and although AC Milan appeared to be frontrunners for the player's signature, Mancini was quick to deny any claims Milan could sign the striker in the January transfer window.

"No, it is not true. I am very, very happy [with Balotelli]," he told reporters.

Balotelli made his return for the first team in last weekend’s FA Cup win over Watford after missing the previous four due to illness.

Questions over a possible demotion were raised when the Italian turned out for the club’s Under-21s during the week – in which he scored twice – but Mancini insisted it was purely a matter of gaining fitness.

"He went with the Under-21s because he needed a game," Mancini said. "After 40 days without a game, he needed one game. He trained well and I hope this year will be different."

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