Former Nice winger Marco Simone remains unconvinced that Mario Balotelli will prove to be a success at the Ligue 1 club.
The 26-year-old left Liverpool to join Nice on transfer deadline day having made just 16 Premier League appearances since moving to Anfield in August 2014.
Simone knows all about making the switch to France having represented Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco before signing for Nice in 2004.
That came after he enjoyed much success with AC Milan, and Simeone believes fellow former San Siro star Balotelli will struggle to adapt to the rigours of life in the French top flight if his attitude is not right.
“Balotelli at Nice is a big question mark for me,” he told Omnisport. “Not because he is not good enough, but because he struggles to be consistent and reliable over the course of an entire season.
“Nobody could argue about Balotelli’s skills and technical and physical strengths, but long-term, he has often failed to fulfil the expectations.
“I’ve said this in the past to my fellow Italians who came to play in France, from [Christian] Vieri to [Marco] Di Vaio, from [Christian] Panucci to [Stephan] El Shaarawy: if you don’t approach Ligue 1 with the right attitude, you’ll struggle.
“Because French football is very physical, it’s a very fast-paced football, perhaps not a very tactical football, but certainly players have to be 100% fit and 100% mentally focused.
“All those players who approach Ligue 1 thinking that it is an easy league; they’re likely to fail.”
Simone, who won four Serie A titles and two European Cups during his time with Milan, also feels that the demands of the Nice supporters could help or hinder Balotelli who is no stranger to fall-outs with fans, notably after wearing a Milan shirt while still on the books of city rivals Inter.
“I know Nice very well,” said Simone.
“It reminds me a lot in terms of atmosphere of Southern Italy.
“There are very ‘hot’ crowds with a lot of passion from the fans who have Italian blood and often speak Italian.
“This could be a massive help for Balotelli, but on the other side they are very demanding, a bit like in Marseille.
“The fans give you a lot, but they demand a lot from players and this could prove being difficult to handle sometimes, especially when you don’t win.”
Nice’s new signing could make his Ligue 1 debut in what promises to be a fiery clash with Marseilles on September 11th.
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