Previous
Sheffield Wednesday
Middlesbrough
6:45 PM UTC
Game Details
Next

No recent activity

Mario Balotelli: Patrick Vieira arrival was key to deciding to stay at Nice

ESPN FC's Julien Laurens and Gab Marcotti explain why Mario Balotelli's hopes of returning to Serie A this summer were dashed.

Mario Balotelli has said Nice coach Patrick Vieira played a key role in changing his mind about leaving.

Balotelli had been expected to depart in the summer after two seasons, but the former Manchester City and Liverpool striker, who has a year remaining on his contract, opted to see it out.

"To be honest, at the end of last year, I had the intention to leave and the president and the club knew it," he told the Nice website.

"It [staying] is my choice because, first of all, no one tells me what to do. I do what I feel, I do what I want, this is always with respect for everyone but the final decision in my career is always mine. I stayed because, in the end, I preferred to stay."

Balotelli said Vieira, who arrived from New York City FC earlier in the summer to replace Lucien Favre, had "changed 80 percent of my decision."

He added: "I spoke with the president and Patrick. They way they talked to me and the proposition was good. I spoke to my agent and I told him: 'Let's do one more year.'

"Leaving now, I'm not saying it's stupid, because maybe I wanted to change before, but I thought about this and maybe it's better to finish where I feel very good so I didn't risk to change now when I have only one more year."

Balotelli said he had received "concrete" offers from other clubs, including one in China, and had also spoken to Marseille.

"I had an offer from Marseille. It was one of the five teams," he said. "I don't know why only Marseille came out. So everyone was thinking: 'Mario's going to Marseille.'

"Marseille is playing in Europe, so that is why I took Marseille as a team where I can go. [But] I look at what is best, and in the end I stay here."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.