Balotelli plays down duel with Atletico's Costa

Mario Balotelli insists that Milan's UEFA Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid is not just a duel between himself and Diego Costa.

Milan host Atletico in the first leg of the last 16 tie on Wednesday after scraping through Group H behind Barcelona.

The clash pits two of European football's leading strikers against each other, as Balotelli, who has scored 14 goals in all competitions for Milan this term, faces off with Atleti's Costa, who has 26 goals to his name. 

However, the Italy international is keen to stress that the tie is by no means a personal battle between the duo.  

"Atletico is doing really well in the Spanish championship. They are a great team," Balotelli told Marca.

"The tie is between Milan and Atletico (not between Costa and Balotelli). Although Diego Costa seems like a very good player."

The former Manchester City man also expressed admiration for Milan coach Clarence Seedorf, who he described as "a pleasure to listen to".

"(Clarence) Seedorf and I talked about the situation in the team and about the things I need to do on the field. I'm happy," Balotelli added.

"In this situation, changes are normal. Seedorf is a great champion and it's a pleasure to listen to him. He was also a great player. Hopefully it will all go well."