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Galliani backs Balotelli, issues hands-off warning

The enigmatic Milan striker's performance in a 1-0 defeat against Uruguay on Tuesday, a result that saw Italy crash out of the competition in the group stages, has been closely scrutinised over the past few days. 

After picking up a needless yellow card that would have seen him miss the next game had Italy reached the last 16, Balotelli was substituted at half-time. 

Balotelli himself hit back at his critics on Wednesday and Galliani, Milan's chief executive, has done likewise, while also dismissing speculation of a possible move away from San Siro. 

"It does not sit well with me that it seems that the international team has lost because of Balotelli," said Galliani on Milan's official website.

"Italy lost for many other reasons. Balotelli was the only striker who has scored a goal (at the World Cup, in a 2-1 win over England), while others have not made a shot on goal. 

"I do not understand why you only talk about Balotelli. There was a coach, the technical staff and 22 other players: we have to talk about the collective. 

"It seems now that the major disappointment was Balotelli. 

"I do not understand this and do not want to really discuss it because I did not understand why the whole squad was not discussed."

Arsenal are reportedly keen on the 23-year-old, but Galliani insisted: "Balotelli will remain at Milan."