Raiola: Balotelli is a cultural icon
“Balotelli has a cultural value, [this transfer] means that the Premiership has lost 50% of its value and Serie A has increased its value by 50%.” Stating that the transfer had rendered English journalists sad, he indicated that the move in bringing a top player back was an important one for Italian football.
Normally never short of a soundbite, Raiola has been noticeably quiet over the past few days as the deal between Manchester City and Milan was concluded.
“That was because of you journalists,” he quipped, advising that the deal was a very complicated one, which had been called off on six or seven occasions before the agreement had finally been reached.
“It was difficult because Manchester [City] didn’t want to sell. We had to take it step by step. When you’re talking about a cultural icon like this, you can’t just do it in two days. But this is a positive sign for all teams in Italy; we had to be calm, balanced, and we did it.”
He paid tribute to Balotelli’s new club for persisting in their pursuit of the striker in light of these difficulties. Asked about interest from Juve, he said, “I don’t speak about others. Others may have thought, but Milan were the club who believed in him and who bought him, that’s what counts.”
He repeated his belief that his client will be missed in England for years to come. “Mario is an amazing talent who still hasn’t shown everything he can do.”
Balotelli is expected to make his Milan debut this weekend against Udinese.
Follow Marco Rinaldi on Twitter: @marcoarrinaldi