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Football | Italy

Mario Balotelli © Gallo Images

Balotelli receives Berlusconi apology



AC Milan owner and president Silvio Berlusconi has apologised to Mario Balotelli after labelling the Italy international a "bad apple" last week.

Manchester City striker Balotelli has recently been linked with a move back to Italy's Serie, where he formerly played with Inter Milan.

But reports claiming he could join Inter's bitter rivals AC Milan seemed wide of the mark last week after Berlusconi labelled the wayward City striker a "bad apple".

The comments came after yet another headline-grabbing incident involving Balotelli, a training-ground bust-up with Roberto Mancini which the Manchester City manager later played down.

Berlusconi told www.acmilan.it: "I was talking about the need to have a positive presence in the changing room.

"I wasn't referring to Balotelli and I apologise if my words were taken as criticism of him."

Balotelli is a confirmed AC Milan fan but Inter claimed last week they held the right of "first refusal" for the striker thanks to a clause that was inserted in his contract when he was sold to City in 2007.

Berlusconi, meanwhile, has played down speculation Balotelli has been targeted by club coach Massimiliano Allegri or club CEO Adriano Galliani.

He added: "I have never been informed by someone at the club opening up talks with him and neither Galliani nor Allegri has pointed him out as a possible target."

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