Mario Balotelli returned to Nice following the summer break weighing in at 100kg, it has been alleged.
L’Equipe reported that Super Mario returned to training with his Nice team-mates weighing 100 kg, way over the optimum weight of 75-85 kg for an athlete of his age and height.
The Italy international came in for some criticism after featuring in the Azzurri’s 1-1 draw with Poland last week and consequently was left out of the side by coach Roberto Mancini for the 1-0 defeat against Portugal.
Balotelli’s performance was panned by observers, with Head of the Polish Football Association Zibi Boniek calling him “useless in this condition”.
Balotelli started the match, but was replaced by Andrea Belotti on the hour mark after having been largely ineffective, touching the ball just 10 times.
After the game, Boniek hit out at the Italian striker who has revived his career with Nice over the past two seasons, earning a recall to the national side.
He told RAI Sport: “I wouldn’t send on a player who’s 15kg overweight. I talked to (Arrigo) Sacchi immediately after the match and we highlighted the fact that the player wasn’t prepared for the game.
“What matters in football is the intelligence towards the rest of the team and the pitch. I’m sorry for Balotelli because I remember him being devastating in a Juventus-Inter match.
“I didn’t see him prepared to make certain efforts at certain levels. It’s his fault because a professional can’t present himself in these conditions.
“To say that Balotelli worked for the team is an outright lie. No-one said he was unfit. I don’t understand why that wasn’t noted. To be a great player, you have to always be fit.
“Balotelli is useless in this condition.”
Mancini, meanwhile, defended the striker, who was making his first appearance since the 2014 World Cup: “Balotelli may have not played well, but not being able to give give 100 percent in a game happens to everyone.”