For a short while it appeared Mario Balotelli had found his spiritual home on the French Riviera.
However the former Man City man has upset the apple cart at the French club this season which begs the question – where does he go from here? And will the hot-head ever find a footballing sanctuary?
There have been rumours circulating that Super Mario could be in line for a Premier League return with both Newcastle and West Ham apparently keen on the forward.
It seems more likely he will remain in France with Marseille set to make a mid-season move for the 28-year-old.
Every club in the world will now know the risk that comes with signing Balotelli, who has equal measures of ability and lunacy to offer a club.
Just ask Nice’s boss, Patrick Vieira – a former team-mate of Balotelli – who claimed the Italian still has the mental age of a 16-year-old and would continue to act like a teenager when he hits 45.
Manchester City were the first club to take a risk when buying the then 19-year-old
They paid £24million for the want-away Inter Milan striker.
Balotelli fell out of favour at Inter after he donned an AC Milan shirt on national television – that ought to do it…
It didn’t take long for the controversies to become synonymous with the player.
Soon after his move, half the British public would know the young man’s name.
From indoor fireworks to handing out cash in Manchester’s city centre, the world couldn’t get enough of young Mario Balotelli.
Hist first year at Man City saw him acquire more cards than goals in a season littered with ridiculous stories involving: Darts, bibs, grass allergies, school bullies and parking tickets.
Another year in the life I suppose…
His second season at the Etihad was arguably the finest throughout his career.
He scored 17 goals in all competitions for Man City and assisted the most famous goal in Premier League history when he passed to Sergio Aguero in the dying minutes against QPR.
His form earned him an Italy call-up for the Euros, where he won Man of the Match in the semi-final after tearing the German back-line to shreds.
For a short while, he was one of the most desired European players.
His following season at Man City was cut short with the striker taking the club to a tribunal after his employers fined him for his poor disciplinary record.
He was sold to AC Milan with the bridges very much burned with the Manchester side.
Roberto Mancini even claimed that Balotelli was like another one of his children ahead of his move back to Serie A.
During his season and a half at Milan, he scored 26 league goals in 37 starts.
And for that short period, it looked as though Mario had found his forever home.
Then came what Balotelli described as ‘the worst decision of my life.’
That decision? To try and fill Luis Suarez’s boots at Liverpool.
After a torrid year at Anfield which saw the forward score just four goals in 27 appearances and a less than successful return to AC Milan the following season, it appeared the footballing world had run out of patience with Balotelli.
Step forward Nice.
The French club took a gamble with Balotelli and signed him on a free transfer.
The League 1 side only offered him a one year deal, this appeared to be Super Mario’s final chance.
Following an impressive inaugural season, Nice offered their front man a new contract and the 2017/18 season was the most prolific of his career – scoring an impressive 26 goals in all competitions.
He was offered his third one year contract at Nice over the summer of 2018 after a move to Marseilles fell through.
He has just the one assist, five yellow cards and no goals so far this campaign.
A record which has frustrated his manager enough to publicly shame the unpredictable front man.
With so many reasons not sign the potentially toxic striker, has his time finally run out in the big leagues?
Or will one more club take a risk on the man we all hate to love… Or is it love to hate?
Bonne chance Mario.
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