Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli expects to return to Italy this month.

The Daily Star Sunday says Balo has told pals he's returning to Italy with AC Milan, the club he supports, as his likely destination.

And Balotelli, 22, was making that known BEFORE his training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini last Thursday.

Mancini has since insisted that he'll give his fellow countryman another 100 chances at City.

But a split is inevitable - either in this month's transfer window or in the summer.

City valued Balotelli at £40 million a few months ago, when former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti wanted him at Paris Saint Germain.

But the Premier League champions now fear they will do well to get £15 million for a talented player who this season has made more headlines for the wrong reasons than for his undoubted ability on the pitch.