‘Happy’ Mario Balotelli plans to stay at Marseille

BOLOGNA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 07: Mario Balotelli of Italy reacts during the UEFA Nations League A group three match between Italy and Poland at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on September 7, 2018 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Mario Balotelli believes Marseille are on “another level” from his old club OGC Nice and plans to extend his stay beyond the end of this season.

The unsettled forward called time on his two and a half year stay at Nice during the January transfer window in favour of a move to fellow Ligue 1 side Marseille.

Balotelli struggled greatly during his final six months at the French Riviera amid a falling out with new manager Patrick Vieira and fitness problems, which restricted him to just 10 Ligue 1 games and not a single goal.

Following his move to the Stade Velodrome, however, Balotelli has cut a rejuvenated figure by scoring four times in his opening six Ligue 1 outings for Marseille.

Now the former Manchester City star intends to commit to a longer-term deal to the one he currently holds, which will expire in June.

“The fact of the matter is that my contract expires at the end of this season and after that, we’ll discuss it,” Balotelli told La Provence.

“I’ve told my agent that I am happy here and want to stay. My first two seasons at Nice were good, but Marseille is on another level, another type of football and atmosphere.”

The Italy international will face his old employers Nice for the first time since his winter exit and made it abundantly clear that he rates Marseille on a whole other level.

“As far as I am concerned, Marseille are the biggest club in France. I thank Nice and its supporters, but there’s no comparison with Marseille,” he continued.

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“I’ve always felt that I would fit in here and I can’t explain why. The atmosphere is a bit like Naples. I’ve said the only Italian club I could play for would be Napoli. It’s more or less the same thing at Marseille.”

Balotelli posted a live celebration video on his Instagram during last weekend’s 2-0 win for Marseille after scoring the opening goal.

“I do have a particular personality, I like to have a lot of fun with my team-mates,” he said.

“When I arrived at Marseille, everyone was feeling pretty down, but it’s different now. I think I’ve helped change that too.

“I’m not saying we’re all completely happy now, but the dressing room is a lot more playful nowadays.”


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