Agent clarifies Mario link
Mario Balotelli's agent has moved to clarify talk of a swap between the Man City star and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
By Simone Bargellini
Last Updated: 20/10/11 3:30pm
Mario Balotelli's agent has moved to clarify talk of the Manchester City striker joining Napoli in a swap deal involving Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Mino Raiola also claimed that another of his clients, Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, could finish his career with current club AC Milan.
Ibrahimovic's former Inter Milan team-mate Balotelli has been regularly linked with a return to his Italian roots since joining City in 2010.
But the 21-year-old has impressed in recent months as he looks to have matured and settled into life in England.
Raiola himself sparked renewed speculation about his client's future by saying Napoli should exchange Lavezzi for Balotelli.
Yet the agent has now tried to play down the suggestion that any such deal is in the offing.
"It was just a comment in response to a question," Raiola told Radio Radio.
"I talked about putting myself in Napoli's shoes, and for them it would be a bargain.
"We have not received any proposal for Mario. I always said that Balotelli needed time and the last three or four months are showing that.
"Settling into English football has been difficult, but now Mario understands certain mechanisms.
"He chose Manchester City and has never said he will leave."
Ibrahimovic left Inter a year before Balotelli, for Barcelona in 2009, only to return to Italy after just a season.
The much-travelled 30-year-old joined Inter's derby rivals Milan on a season-long loan before making a permanent move to the Rossoneri in the summer and Raiola believes that move could be his last.
The former Ajax and Juventus striker, who has three years left on his Milan contract, agreed to return from international duty early last week because he was suspended for his country's final Euro 2012 qualifier in midweek.
"Ibrahimovic will probably end his career with AC Milan," added Raiola.
"He's so peaceful and relaxed that when Milan asked him to come back from the Swedish national team, he was happy to do it.
"Five years ago he would never have done that."