Friday, August 23, 2019

Nice prepared for ´likely´ Balotelli departure

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 18 Mar 2018

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Nice expect Mario Balotelli to leave the club when the striker’s contract expires at the end of the season.

Balotelli has scored 22 goals in all competitions this season, 14 of which have come in Ligue 1, but Nice are eighth and unlikely to qualify for Europe.

The 27-year-old’s agent Mino Raiola has suggested Serie A title contenders Napoli would be “ideal” for his client, but leaders Juventus have confirmed they are not interested in Balotelli.

Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere and coach Lucien Favre have both confirmed Balotelli is not expected to agree a contract renewal to spend a third season at the club.

“It’s more likely than not that Mario will leave,” Favre told Canal+ after Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain beat his side 2-1 on Sunday.

Before the game Rivere also indicated the club has accepted Balotelli will be moving on at the conclusion of the campaign.

“It is likely that Mario may be leaving to see other horizons,” Rivere said before the match.

“We’ll see what happens in the transfer window.”

Balotelli, meanwhile, believes he has matured at Nice and can further improve in the years to come.

However, he remains focused on continuing to progress and helping the club to a strong finish to the Ligue 1 campaign.

“This is one of the best seasons of my career, but I can do a lot more,” Balotelli told Telefoot ahead of Sunday’s game against PSG

“When you grow up and you get more mature, it’s easier to just focus on football. This is the most important thing I’ve learned here.

“For us, the goal is to at least qualify for the Europa League. That is most the most important goal for us.”

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco has suggested he would be interested in having Balotelli at the Stadio Olimpico, with a Serie A return looking the striker’s most likely move.

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