Mario Balotelli Unlikely to Receive New Contract from Nice, Says Club President

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli looks on during the French L1 football match between Guingamp (EAG) and Nice (OGCN) at the Roudourou stadium, in Guingamp, northwestern France on December 1, 2018. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Nice President Jean-Pierre Rivere has said striker Mario Balotelli is unlikely to sign an extension with the club, ending his time on the French Riviera.

Speaking to RMC Sport (h/t Goal) Rivere discussed his poor form in front of goal this season, defending the Italian. But when he was asked if Balotelli would continue with Nice beyond this season, the president said his time with the team is likely over: "An extension? No I think it will be over."

The 28-year-old joined Nice in 2016 after difficult spells with Milan and Liverpool and finally rediscovered the scoring form that had powered his rise to fame. With 33 goals in his first two seasons, he put himself in position to be a major part of the national team once again, and his career appeared to be back on track.

Arthur Mola/Associated Press

But, as explained by Goal, he seemed to be on his way out of Nice on a free transfer in the summer, only to return on a one-year deal. Because of those negotiations, he missed out on pre-season, and his form has yet to recover.

With no goals in Ligue 1 this season Goal's Robin Bairner wondered who would still be interested in Super Mario:

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Never one to shy away from controversy, he all but ruled out former club Milan as a destination in a recent interview, going after the Rossoneri fans:

When he's focused and in good shape, Balotelli remains an excellent option up front. The former Inter Milan and Manchester City star has a great blend of finishing ability, athleticism and vision that allows him to be effective in and around the box and in a multitude of systems.

But he's also a constant source of headache due to the controversies that surface everywhere he goes:

The lack of goals so far in the 2018-19 campaign will kill Balotelli's value on the open market, and he may find himself short on options if he does become a free agent. There will always be a team willing to take a chance on his talent, but the list of suitors won't be a long one at this point.