Mario Balotelli Scores 4 Minutes Into His Return

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Mario Balotelli had not played a match in nearly 10 months, and he's now in Italy's second tier, but his scoring touch still lingers.

The 30-year-old Balotelli scored four minutes into his debut with Serie B's Monza in a 3-0 win over first-place Salernitana on Wednesday, helping bring his new club within two points of the top of the table.

The goal was simple enough, a redirect of Carlos Augusto's cross to the back post, though Balotelli did have to adjust mid-run to hold up so as to meet the ball at the right time.

Balotelli had not played since a March 9 appearance for Brescia, which concluded a stint with his hometown club that quickly turned from storybook to nightmare

He had bounced around in the years prior to returning to Italy, playing for Nice and Marseille in Ligue 1 on permanent deals after his failed time with Liverpool saw him go out on loan to AC Milan (where he'd previously starred from 2013-14). He was the fifth-leading scorer in Ligue 1 in 2017-18, with his 18 goals just one behind Neymar and Memphis Depay (and 10 short of leading scorer Edinson Cavani), but finding consistency and dodging injury and controversy have always managed to follow the striker around.

He's back and active now, playing for an ambitious second-level club owned by former Italian prime minister and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi and teaming with Kevin-Prince Boateng, looking to secure promotion in yet another attempt at a career rejuvenation. 

Balotelli hasn't played for the Italian national team in over two years, the last appearance coming in a September 2018 UEFA Nations League match. Prior to his return in 2018, he had gone four years without a call-up following the 2014 World Cup.