BALOTELLI JOINS OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE ON A FREE TRANSFER

Italy striker Mario Balotelli has completed a January move to French side Olympique Marseille on a free transfer.

The former Liverpool forward was allowed to leave Nice for free after falling out with current manager Patrick Vieira.

Marseille announced signing of the Italian to the world via a video on social media showing three men doing parkour through the city before painting a graffiti mural of Balotelli.

According to Sky Sports Italia, the lstar will earn £2.7million for just 17 games at Marseille.

The 28-year-old scored 33 goals in his first two seasons in Ligue 1 but failed to replicate that form under new boss Vieira, playing just 10 times without finding the back of the net.

“When this happens the striker is responsible for the situation but sometimes there are external factors.

I was supposed to leave at the beginning of the season, then I didn’t leave,” Balotelli told a news conference. “But I will make up for it.”

Asked what his ambitions were, he joked: “My ambition is to finish this news conference, go to training and see if I can play on Friday.”

Marseille are currently seventh on the table with 31 points leveled with eighth-placed Nice, who have played a game more.

Coach Rudi Garcia said would at best come off the bench when they take on Lille at the start of the weekend.

“He hasn’t played or trained for a month, it is impossible to see him start on Friday,” Garcia told reporters.

“We will have to wait to see how long it takes him to be at 100 per cent.”

Earlier in the season, Vieira revealed his obvious frustration with Balotelli, saying:

“When it comes to Mario, I want to answer back, or just slam him up against the wall or leave him hanging by his collar on the coat rack, but I can’t, as I’m no longer a player.”

But Nice club president Jean-Pierre Rivere defended Balotelli somewhat, blaming his poor form on missing pre-season training due to the collapse of a possible transfer.

“Mario, for us, was leaving [last summer] so he missed his preparation,” Rivere said.

“I think every player that misses his preparation suffers for the first part of the season.

“Now he has recovered his physical aptitude, but he’s not in luck (in front of goal). So the poor guy is frustrated.”

Balotelli’s has played for Inter and AC Milan, and won 36 caps for Italy since his career began to decline between 2014/16 season while playing for Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Continentour.com.ng had earlier reported that Former Manchester City striker, Mario Balotelli, is poised for stunning return to the Premier League, with Newcastle United lining up a bid for the Italian.

According to a Mail Online report, the Magpies could make a gamble with his return.

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