Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang backs Mario Balotelli to triumph in Ligue 1


Mario Balotelli must be on his last chance to make it as a top European striker this season.

The controversial Italian ended his Liverpool nightmare by joining Nice on a free transfer on deadline day and has already shown what he can achieve once he puts his mind to it.

Six goals from five appearances for the Ligue 1 team has shot Balotelli back into prominence and there are very quiet whispers that he might be somewhere close to his best form.

On his day, the ex-Liverpool forward can prove a handful for any defender and he appears to be making the most of the opportunity a very brave Lucien Favre has offered him.

With the summer departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there were a few concerns whether Ligue 1 would lose some of its global appeal, but Balotelli's early success has got everyone watching - including one of the deadliest strikers around right now.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made his name by banging in the goals in France, most notably with St Etienne, and thinks Balotelli will be a force to be reckoned with in Ligue 1.

"Can Balotelli score 20 goals this season? Yes, I think he can do it," Aubameyang told Onze Mondial, as per Goal.

"But it all depends on himself. If he remains focused on his game all season, I am sure he can reach that figure."


Of course, Aubameyang's last point is critical. Can Balotelli concentrate all of his attention on his game for an entire season?

Maintaining his discipline on the pitch will also be key as the 26-year-old was sent off just minutes after scoring Nice's late winner over FC Lorient on Sunday.

Balotelli was involved in a very minor altercation with Steve Moreira and received his second yellow card - the first being presented after he took his shirt off to celebrate the 86th-minute goal.

It looked particularly harsh at the time and it is likely to be rescinded after the referee Olivier Thual admitted he made a mistake following the game.

His reputation probably did Balotelli no favours on that occasion and that is something he will need to be wary of throughout the campaign if he is to reach Aubameyang's 20-goal prediction.

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