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Grant Holt: The Wrestler

Toe Poke
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 By Ian Holyman

Nice star Mario Balotelli shows off impressive French skills

Mario Balotelli might give the impression of being the naughty boy at the back of the class, but the Nice striker deserves top marks for his French.

On the Cote d'Azur for less than two years after leaving Liverpool, Balotelli has rarely given interviews to local media, and when he has done so, he has spoken either Italian or English.

But with most of his teammates, he needs to speak French, and he is very good at it.

The former Inter Milan and Manchester City forward gave Nice midfielder Adrien Tameze tactical instructions ahead of the second half of their club's 1-0 Ligue 1 win over Montpellier on Sunday.

"You can sometimes play a little bit higher," Balotelli explained. "There are lots of times that you take the ball at the back, but you can play ten metres higher."

The message perfectly delivered and fully received, a beaming Balotelli proudly proclaims to the camera: "It's good my French, yeah?"

Tres bien, Mario, tres bien.

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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