‘I will make up for it’: Mario Balotelli vows to put latest controversy behind him after completing free transfer to Marseille following fallout with Nice boss Patrick Vieira
- Mario Balotelli has signed for Marseille on a free transfer from Nice
- The Italian striker has joined for six months after troubled end to time at Nice
- His attitude drew anger of boss Patrick Vieira and he hasn’t scored this season
- Balotelli said about his poor form: ‘Sometimes there are external factors’
Mario Balotelli has completed the latest move in his nomadic career by joining Marseille until the end of the season.
The former Liverpool and Manchester City striker was allowed to leave Nice on a free transfer after falling foul of manager Patrick Vieira.
Marseille announced their new signing to the world via a video on social media showing three men doing parkour through the city before painting a graffiti mural of Balotelli.
Mario Balotelli poses with his new Marseille shirt after signing for the club on Wednesday
Sky Sports Italia are reporting that Balotelli will earn £2.7million for just 17 games at Marseille.
The controversial Italian, 28, found the net 33 times in his first two seasons in Ligue 1 but failed to replicate that form under new boss Vieira, playing just 10 times without scoring a single goal.
‘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.’
Marseille announced their signing of Balotelli in a video showing a graffiti mural of him
His sponsors, Puma, also released a mocked-up image of him wearing a Marseille shirt under the blue Manchester City kit he once lifted to show a t-shirt with the words ‘why always me?’
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 seventh in the table, level on 31 points with eighth-placed Nice, who have played a game more. They take on second-placed Lille on Friday, but coach Rudi Garcia said Balotelli would at best come off the bench.
‘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.’
Vieira revealed his obvious frustration with Balotelli earlier this season, 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.’
Balotelli speaks at his unveiling under the eye of Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud
The controversial striker looked happy to be at Marseille after a difficult season so far
He blamed his poor form at Nice on a poor pre-season and promised to improve at Marseille
Nice club president Jean-Pierre Rivere, however, defended Balotelli somewhat, blaming his poor form on missing pre-season training due to the collapse of a proposed 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 career has been in steady decline since his awful spell at Liverpool from 2014-16.
He is talented enough to have played for Inter and AC Milan, and won 36 caps for Italy, but his sometimes his immature attitude has led to high-profile bust-ups with several of his coaches. Marseille is his seventh club.