I never wanted rotten apple Balotelli at Milan – Berlusconi

The club owner maintains the striker is “a rotten apple” and is adamant his team can reach the Champions League final – to be played at San Siro – in 2016

AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi claims he never wanted “rotten apple” Mario Balotelli at the club.

The Italy striker brought an end to 18 months of inconsistent form at San Siro this summer when he joined Liverpool in a €20 million deal.

Despite Milan’s significant struggles in Serie A over the past two seasons, Berlusconi is adamant the club are far better off without the former Manchester City man.

“I remember he was bought against my advice,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We have many champions: [Jeremy] Menez, [Keisuke] Honda, [Stephan] El Shaarawy, [Fernando] Torres, [Nigel] De Jong…

“The base is there. And we no longer have a rotten apple in the dressing room.”

Milan were also linked with Balotelli’s former City team-mate Carlos Tevez prior to his move to Juventus, but Berlusconi claims he was never interested.

“I never considered him for Milan,” he said simply.

Berlusconi did, however, pay tribute to former Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti for his advice on some of the club’s recent signings.

“I give my compliments to Ancelotti,” said the 78-year-old. “He’s been one of our advisors on the market, next to me and [Adriano] Galliani, and he gave us advice on [Diego] Lopez, Menez and Alex.”

The Rossoneri have had to make do without European football this season after their dismal eighth-placed finish in 2013-14, but Berlusconi insists there is no reason they cannot target a place in the Champions League final of 2016, which will be played at San Siro.

“It’s too early to give a vote on the team but I think we can give a more complete assessment from January onwards,” he said.

“Our goal is to return to Europe. We want to build a winning side.

“I think there are cycles in football, with years of success, then breaks, then back to winning. But the fans should rest assured – the team is already competitive and we’ll soon be leaders in Europe again.

“The 2016 Champions League final is in Milan. Why shouldn’t we dream of being there?”

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