With no interest from major clubs in Europe forthcoming, Balotelli ended up signing a one-year deal with Ligue 1 side Nice on the transfer deadline day. It proved to be arguably the best decision of the player’s career.
Under constant spotlight in England, Balotelli had become sort of a Bad Boy of football. Nice are far from being a major force in Europe, but the club provided a perfect opportunity to Balotelli to rediscover his hunger for the game without the constant judgement from the media.
The 27-year-old didn’t change his ways though as he ended up earning three red cards in his debut season in Ligue 1. However, he did manage to score a total of 15 goals in 23 appearances. His goal-tally helped the Ligue side to finish in the third spot behind the likes of Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain. In 2016-17 Euro Fantasy League, he was available for 7m in the market, and he finished the season with 49 points.
Following a decent debut in Ligue 1, Balotelli earned a new one-year deal last summer. The Italian started the new season in the same vein, and as things stand, he is well on his way to surpassing his last season’s tally. In 17 appearances, he has already scored 13 goals. Balotelli’s performances are even more commendable this season as Nice are struggling in the seventh spot in the league table.
It is no surprise that these performances have once again ignited interest in the Italian striker. According to the recent reports, the likes of Napoli and Juventus are some of the clubs interested in signing him for free in the summer.
According to multiple sources such as Corriere dello Sport and Football Italia, Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri is interested in signing the striker in the summer. According to British tabloid the Sun, Italian champions Juventus are also interested in signing the striker.
That’s quite a turnaround for the player, who seemed to be headed towards the end of his top-level career just 18 months ago.
Balotelli is in the form of his life, and it seems that the Italian striker is very much keen on taking his form to a top club next season.
“I called my agent and asked, ‘What am I doing in January?’ He said he didn’t know. I want to remain, so we’ll see.” Balotelli told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Admittedly, I would like to get back to having a strong squad behind me. I want to play in the Champions League and win something. The aim is to go back to a big club. To win something important again”
“I am certainly not thinking about the end of my career yet. I am 27 years old, so I can play another six or seven years at the top level.”
It seems pretty clear that Balotelli won’t be playing at Nice next season. Where? That’s a question that will be soon answered.
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