The 27-year-old, often embroiled in controversy during his two-and-a-half years at the Etihad Stadium, is still remembered fondly by supporters for his antics on and off the field.
Balotelli has found his feet in Ligue 1 since making the move to Nice last year, hitting 16 goals in 21 games so far this term to put disappointing spells with Liverpool and AC Milan behind him.
A return to Man City in the future still excites the Italy international, but he admits that it was a struggle in the early stages after joining from Inter Milan.
"I love Manchester City. I love Manchester City fans. I love this club," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I would go back to City for free. For me, the year with Manchester City has been the best one of my life.
"Honestly, at the beginning, it was difficult to live in Manchester, which is different from London, and I struggled a little bit. But speaking of football, Manchester City are amazing. I am very happy that they have been doing so well, and I hope they will go on to win the Premier League well in advance.
"My target is to return in a big club and win something important. Back to AC Milan? It's hard to say, there would be too much pressure on me like the last time. I wanted to visit my old teammates a few weeks ago but [Marco] Fassone said it was better not to do it."
Balotelli left Man City for AC Milan in January 2013 after a confrontation with then-manager Roberto Mancini.