Mario Balotelli wants to leave title rivals Manchester City and return to Italy, according to his friend and Manchester United rival Patrice Evra, reports the Daily Mirror.

The 22-year-old striker is believed to be a target for both Milan clubs, with Serie A giants AC Milan ready to send former City forward Robinho back to his native Brazil in order to finance a deal.

Balotelli has not been selected by Roberto Mancini for either of the reigning Premier League champions' last two games, with Argentine duo Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez preferred in attack, while top goalscorer Edin Dzeko continues to make a strong impact from the bench.

Manchester United travel to the Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City next month, in a potentially pivotal encounter with regards to this season's title race.

And, ahead of the game, Evra - who speaks Italian after starting his career there - has fuelled speculation about Balotelli's future by telling Italian TV that his friend would rather be back home playing in Serie A.

"Mario really misses Italy," explained the Frenchman. "I don't know if he will stay in Manchester, because he wants to return to his country. I am not his agent - I am only telling you how he feels.

"He is my rival in Manchester - I meet him a lot, I know him well. Off the pitch, we joke around and I take the micky out of him."

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