Mario Balotelli is set to stay with Nice for the 2018/19 season despite talk of the Italian forward departing the club this summer.
Mario Balotelli is set to stay with Nice for the 2018/19 season despite talk of the Italian forward departing the club this summer, with fellow Ligue 1 side Marseille strongly linked.
As seen on the French club's official Twitter account, the former Manchester City forward, who arrived at the Allianz Riviera from Anfield in 2016 on a free transfer, failed to show up to Nice's first day of preseason as talk of a move to the Stade Vélodrome grew stronger.
The 28-year-old forward also missed the start of the club's domestic campaign through suspension, but Nice have now confirmed that the Italian will stay for his third season with the club.
Balotelli, despite continuing to be a divisive figure in football, has impressed since arriving in France, scoring 43 goals in 64 games for Les Aiglons.
He helped Nice to an eighth-place finish last term, and new boss Patrick Vieira will be glad to have his star striker on board yet again.
Nice's official Twitter account tweeted: "There will be a season three to the hit series. The agreement was endorsed by all parties on Monday night.
"Suspended for the first three Ligue 1 games, the forward, who has scored 43 goals since arriving at the club, will be available for selection next week, ready for the trip to Lyon.
"Made slightly complicated at the start of the summer by another club from the south of France, the situation is now back to normal. Simple, clear. Like one of Super Mario's strikes."
La décision est prise. Murement réfléchie. Mario #Balotelli a choisi de rester à l’@ogcnice. L’international italien a exprimé cette volonté auprès des dirigeants niçois. Il y aura bien une saison 3 à la série à succès. L’accord a été entériné par toutes les parties lundi soir.— OGC Nice (@ogcnice) August 20, 2018
Rendue quelque peu compliquée au début de l’été par un autre club du Sud de la France, la situation est de retour à la normale. Simple, limpide. Comme une frappe de SuperMario.— OGC Nice (@ogcnice) August 20, 2018
The news comes just a week after Vieira stated that the club would do 'whatever it takes' to help Balotelli leave the club, with the former Arsenal midfielder saying: "The player wants to leave, so it's unlikely he'll remain here.
"We want players whose desire it is to go forward with the club."