Balotelli back in six to eight weeks

MANCHESTER - Mario Balotelli hopes to recover from knee surgery by the end of November, the Manchester City and Italy forward said on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old, signed from Inter Milan in August just after his Italy debut, barely had time to make an impact in English football before undergoing an operation on September 8.

He was expected to return by the middle of October but his progress has been slightly slower.

GEAR: Get your hands on the new Manchester City away shirt here, courtesy of Kitbag

"It's going to be around six to eight weeks," Balotelli told Reuters as he waited with his physio to board a plane for Milan at Manchester Airport.

He therefore should return in time for the December 16 Europa League match at Juventus, whose fans used to racially abuse him when he played in Turin for Inter.

He has linked up again at City with Roberto Mancini, one of his former Inter coaches, and has quickly got used to Manchester's famous rainy weather while kicking his heels in the treatment room.

"It's OK, I'm calm about it," the often shy man said when asked about the weather and settling in.

With expensive cap, shades and shiny earrings, the striker would have been easy to spot had Manchester's public not been largely deprived of seeing him on the field since his arrival.

Instead the $38 million signing wandered the airport almost unnoticed.

Interact: Twitter * Facebook * Forums