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Mario Balotelli.

Gianluigi Buffon reacts to Mario Balotelli's move to Nice

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Wednesday 31 August, 2016, could mark a decisive day in Mario Balotelli's career.

Following troubled spells at Liverpool and AC Milan, the Italian finally has a shot at redemption after completing a free transfer to Ligue 1's Nice on Wedneday.

It really is now or never for the 26-year-old having shown such promise in his earlier days at Inter Milan and Manchester City but since suffering a rather alarming decline.

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Two league goals since 2014 emphasises just how much he's struggled.

But according to countryman and Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon, Balotelli can yet rebuild his floundering career and rediscover his goalscoring touch.

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Reacting to the striker's move, he said: "It is a very humble choice he has made - and I say that with all due respect to Nice, which is a good club.

"He has the chance to get his career back on track. He still has time. He has a lot of qualities. He just has to show it on the pitch at the right time."

If Balotelli ever needed a confidence boost, that was it; clearly, Buffon still respects and rates his international teammate.

Kevin Prince Boateng has also commented on Balotelli's unprecedented move to Nice, where Hatem Ben Arfa imfamously resurrected his own career before sealing a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

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"He has to make sacrifices," the Ghanaian midfielder said, "to dedicate himself to football and start again.

"I am a friend, ok, but I am convinced that if Mario thinks only about football, there are not a lot of people better than him. It depends on him - he has to decide what he will do in his life."

Such faith is warranted considering just how gifted a player Balotelli is, with Jurgen Klopp also a big admirer - even if the German did insist on selling him.

In the aftermath of Euro 2016, Liverpool's manager said: "We want Mario to become the player he was before his injury. The talent is still there - no doubt about it.

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"When we have done the crossing, heading and stuff (in training), he's been world class.

"But this is not a situation where he should be battling with other players like this for one position so it's clear we need a solution.

"There will be a club around who would be happy to have a new Mario Balotelli if you like."

That club is Nice and, with a bit of luck, Balotelli might yet be able to re-establish himself as one of Europe's most lethal strikers.

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Topics:
Gianluigi Buffon
Football
Premier League
Mario Balotelli
Manchester City
UEFA Champions League
Italy Football
Liverpool

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