Balotelli adopted a conciliatory tone as he looked forward to shaking hands with the United defender - who lives in the same road in Alderley Edge - and explained how he has controlled his volatile nature.
"I did not say anything to Ferdinand (to cause the incident), but I don't have anything against him," he told the Daily Mail, recalling last season's FA Cup semifinal fracas .
"I showed him the shirt of City, but I was just celebrating. He got angry with me. But, for me, what happened on the pitch stayed on the pitch, and now we are friends, like before. Or we respect each other anyway. I'm going to give him the handshake before the game, like I give to everyone. He's a great player.
"For me, the derby, or the Champions League, aren't just games like others. It's good to share that feeling with so many supporters and to know they feel the game is important."