AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli hopes to meet former club Manchester City in the Champions League next season.

The Italian left the Premiership giants in January for the Diavolo and he's hoping for a swift 'return' to Manchester.

"We at Milan are trying to qualify for the Champions League directly, without needing the preliminary phase," he told

"And I am sure that City also will qualify for the Champions League. I hope to come back to play at the Etihad.

"If that will happen I will come back with love and respect for everyone - club, players and supporters. I would love a Champions League group with Milan and City, it would be great."