Roberto Mancini admits Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi was never a realistic target for Manchester City this summer.
The Blues were linked with the 28-year-old before signing free agent Owen Hargreaves just before the transfer window shut.
De Rossi has just one year left on his contract and is still involved in on-off talks over a new deal.
And while Mancini admits his admiration of the Italy international, the City boss believes he will never leave his hometown club.
"De Rossi is one of the greatest midfielders in the world, I have always said this," Mancini told Rete Sport.
"But, he is a Roman and a Romanista, and so I do not think he will ever leave Roma."
Mancini was looking to bolster his squad with another holding midfielder and, although City were also linked with Fernando Gago, they did not follow up their interest and the Argentinian ultimately joined Roma on loan from Real Madrid.
"He is a player that we liked," said Mancini.
"But we could not spend any more, and also because of the financial fair play rules, so we got Owen Hargreaves instead."
De Rossi is currently with the Italy squad preparing for their Euro 2012 qualifier against the Faroe Islands on Friday night.
Mario Balotelli is with the Azzurri too, despite having yet to feature for City this season, but Mancini has told the 21-year-old it is up to him to earn a recall.
"Mario has to show all of his qualities," he said.
"He has potential to be the best in the world, but he must make every effort in training and on the pitch."