AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has apologised for calling Mario Balotelli "a rotten apple" but stopped short of declaring his interest in the Manchester City striker.
The former Inter Milan player has been linked with a January return to the San Siro after finding his chances limited at the Etihad Stadium, with a number of high-profile incidents heightening speculation he could soon call time on a two-and-a-half-year spell in Manchester.
But Berlusconi appeared to dispel any thoughts of a potential bid for the 22-year-old last week by calling Balotelli "a rotten apple", a phrase he retracted on Monday night.
Speaking to Sky Italia, he said: "What I said was based on the fact that I feel positive people are useful in the changing room.
"I was not referring to Balotelli and I apologise if it is was taken as a slur against him.
"Could he still come to Milan? No one from my club has held any talks with him, and neither (vice-president Adriano) Galliani or I has identified him...