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Wednesday 21 March 2018

WATCH - Mario Balotelli impresses with another brace to send Nice top of Ligue 1

Nice's Mario Balotelli has enjoyed a fruitful start in France CREDIT: ERIC GAILLARD/REUTERS
Nice's Mario Balotelli has enjoyed a fruitful start in France CREDIT: ERIC GAILLARD/REUTERS

Sean Gibson

Mario Balotelli continued his impressive start at French side Nice, with his second brace in as many Ligue 1 matches with his new club.

Supporters in the UK have been largely bemused by the Italian forward's form for his new employers, after he followed his inconsistent performances for Manchester City with an outright dreadful spell at Liverpool.

An initially bright start for Balotelli at AC Milan, between his time at Man City and Liverpool, eventually petered out, but things look more promising than they have done in a long time for the mercurial striker.

Balotelli has scored some splendid goals in his career and, although neither of these efforts - notched in a 4-0 win over Monaco - came out of his top drawer, they were of a much higher standard than the forward has attained in recent seasons.

Nice moved top of Ligue 1 - above vanquished Monaco - with the win, though they are hotly pursued by reigning multiple champions PSG, only a point behind.

The south-coast club are now the only unbeaten side left in the French top flight, and with Balotelli in this kind of form that trend could well continue a while yet.

The 26-year-old joined Nice on a free transfer this summer from Liverpool, who only two years ago paid £16million to bring him to Merseyside from AC Milan.

The fee represented a notable decline in value from the £24million he had commanded when Man City bought him from Inter in 2010, and the move came with a pay-cut and behaviour-related conditions.

Balotelli recently said that moving to Liverpool was "the worst mistake of my life", having managed on one goal in 16 league appearances for the club.

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