Mario Balotelli hoping to face Manchester City in the Champions League

Mario Balotelli: Would like to meet Manchester City in European competition

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Mario Balotelli hopes he will get the opportunity to return to Manchester City with AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League.

The fiery Italian frontman headed home in January after two-and-a-half incident-filled years in England.

Balotelli helped City to Premier League and FA Cup glory during his time at the Etihad Stadium and holds fond memories of his stay with the Blues.

He would like to return one day in opposition colours, offering him a chance to thank the supporters who took him to their hearts, and it is possible the 23-year-old will get his wish this season if both City and Milan can make the knockout stages of Europe's premier club competition.

"At the moment, I only rate Messi and Ronaldo above me, but that can change this season."

Mario Balotelli

Balotelli said in the Sunday Mirror: "It is a dream to play against Manchester City in Europe.

"I had a good time there - and had a lot of success there. I still have friends in Manchester and I would like to go back and say hello to the fans that were so good to me.

"There is never an easy group, but it is a much better group for City than they have had for the last two seasons and I expect them to qualify.

"It would be mixed emotions, going back - because I would be going there to win, but I hope Milan meet them in the knockout stages."

Balotelli has also revealed that he has his sights set on becoming the best player in Europe, with the Italy international confident he can find the level of consistency displayed by Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's prolific Cristiano Ronaldo.

He added: "I want to be the best player in Europe and I want to prove that this season.

"At the moment, I only rate Messi and Ronaldo above me, but that can change this season.

"I am playing good football with Milan and I want to be number one in Europe. To do that, I must perform well in the Champions League.

"We have a tough group. Barcelona are Barcelona and Ajax have some good young players. The atmosphere that Celtic make in Europe is famous, so we also know to expect a tough game."