Balotelli weighing up his options

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Mario Balotelli is not ruling out the possibility of staying with Nice in Ligue 1 next season, saying the club has helped him grow.

The 27-year-old, who recently announced his return to the Italian national team with a goal in the friendly against Saudi Arabia this week, will be out of contract with the French club by June.

A former Inter, Manchester City, Milan and Liverpool forward, Balotelli revealed that he had initially joined Nice as a stepping stone to bigger things.

However, he now recognises the stability he has found in France and that his time there has helped him mature.

Balotelli told Nice’s official YouTube channel: “I was thinking about coming here to train and play well to get back in form that was my priority.

“I wasn’t really thinking what I could do with the team, being first or second… I wasn’t thinking about that, though I was hoping to have a good season.

“This season I’ve started to feel good physically, and my attitude, and I think when you feel physically fit you can work better.

“I’m a father now, I have two kids and I have a calm life and that happened when I was here. I’ve matured a lot, also because I’m getting older. It’s normal.

“Why did I stay for a second year? I spoke with the President. I like him, he convinced me the first time and he didn’t really have to convince me the second time, I already wanted to stay.

“He believed in me and he really believed I could improve Nice.”

The Italian striker said he is still unsure of his future with his contract with Nice set to expire, but the club will always be close to his heart.

Balotelli added: “The future? I never really think about that. I don’t want to think too far ahead.

“I will always have, any time if I leave – if – I will always have good memories. The stadium, the fans, the staff, the Coach, my teammates. Everyone who works for the club.”