People scoffed when Mario Balotelli moved to Nice back in 2016.
The Italian striker, who once had such promise and potential, joined the Ligue 1 side after disappointing spells at Milan and Liverpool.
In fact, he described his time with the Reds as the “worst mistake of his life”.
But it’s all looking very good for him along the French Riviera.
He netted 15 goals in his first season in France, showing us all what he can do when he knuckles down, while his tally of 13 goals so far this season makes him the sixth-highest scorer in the French top-flight.
And it seems his good form and lack of controversy (as far as we know, he hasn’t set off anymore fireworks in his bathroom) could see him receive a recall from Italy’s interim manager Luigi Di Biagio.
The Under-21 manager, who will take charge of the Azzurri’s senior team in their upcoming friendlies against Argentina and England, replaced the hapless Gian Piero Ventura on an interim basis after Italy’s failure to reach this summer’s World Cup.
And according to Corriere dello Sport, Di Biagio is keen to give Balotelli a chance to prove his worth to the national team.
The 27-year-old hasn’t featured for his country since the 2014 World Cup, having been overlooked by both Ventura and Antonio Conte.
The same report also hints that recent international retirees Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini will be recalled for the upcoming games.
Buffon’s last appearance for the national side was in the calamitous play-off defeat to Sweden, when the legendary goalkeeper tearfully apologised to fans and announced his retirement from international duty.
But it seems Di Biagio wants the 175-cap man to receive a much more fitting send-off, while also helping the side through their current transitional phase.
Di Biagio will also call up some of the youngsters who have played under him previously, including teenage sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma.
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