sport

Mancini confirms Mario exit

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini concedes he is unlikely to bring in a replacement for Mario Balotelli after confirming the Italy striker is close to leaving the club.

Much of the talk prior to City's Premier League clash with QPR at Loftus Road on Tuesday surrounded Balotelli, who was reportedly closing in on a move to AC Milan.

Speaking after the game, which ended 0-0, Mancini confirmed the controversial forward was close to leaving but played down talk of an imminent replacement.

"Both clubs are talking about him," Mancini told Sky Sports. "I think maybe tomorrow they conclude. I think that Mario is due for a medical.

"We are very sorry because we love Mario. But I think that he had this big chance to go back to Italy and to play for another top club like Milan."

When asked about any potential replacements, Mancini revealed that discussions over the sale of Balotelli only began 48 hours ago, leaving precious little time for further deals.

He added: "Four days ago we didn't have nothing, but the last two days we have started to talk about this [Balotelli's transfer].

"I don't know [about a replacement], we have three strikers, we will see, we only have two days it is difficult to get the player now."

Speaking about the game, Mancini praised QPR for their battling display, singling out goalkeeper Julio Cesar - who played under Mancini at Inter - after the Brazilian made a number of key saves to deny the Premier League champions.

"Julio is one of the top keepers in the world and he saved his team and I'm very happy for him because I know him very well but I'm very frustrated for us," he said.

"I think that now QPR is a different team, they don't concede a lot of space, it is difficult to play against them now because they play with 10 players behind the ball, if you don't score or find a good solution like we had today in the first half it's difficult.

"We missed a good chance tonight. We played well, we didn't concede, but in football you need to score."