Super Mario’s World: Balotelli misses kick-off due to laces mishap

The spotlight-loving Italian was a minute late entering Nice’s clash with Nantes due to a bizarre moment when he needed help with his boots

Sometimes, you just know it’s going to be one of those days. Mario Balotelli probably felt like that on Saturday afternoon, when he trotted out for Nice’s Ligue 1 encounter against Nantes more than a minute after the match had kicked off.

The Italian had been named in the starting XI for Lucien Favre’s side, but he did not take part in the action for over 90 seconds due to a problem with his shoe laces.

Indeed, the striker needed to get someone from the dugout to tie them for him in one of the most bizarre acts of the season.

WATCH: Balotelli’s lace mishap forces him to miss kick off

When he took to the field, things did not get a great deal better. Mario is still searching for his first Ligue 1 goal away from home this season and was unable to find the target at Stade de la Beaujoire, where his side fought back from a goal down to secure a point thanks to Jean-Michel Seri’s strike.

Despite the 1-1 draw, Nice find themselves seven points off the pace of leaders Monaco and have probably seen their title hopes disappear with eight matches of the campaign remaining.

Balotelli’s contract with Nice is up at the end of the season, and there is already speculation that he could return to Italy, with Napoli among the clubs in the running. Agent Mino Raiola, however, told Radio C: “It is still too early to talk about his future.”



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Balotelli has previously indicated he is happy at Nice and has suggested he is open to staying with the French side, but Favre’s decision to replace him seven minutes from time in Nantes was not one that pleased him.

The coach was pragmatic about the reaction, stating after the game: “I don’t know any players who are happy to be replaced, whoever they are. I remember when I was a player, I didn’t like to go off.”

Indeed, before the encounter, Balotelli once again posted a message encouraging his team-mates on Instagram.


@ogcnice #allez

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In recent weeks, he has also posted tributes to his former clubs.

This time, it was Manchester City’s turn, as he reposted a video of him scoring with his shoulder against Norwich in the Premier League – perhaps the most casual goal scored in the history of the competition.


Good night

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No doubt it is a goal he has shown the number one lady in his life, daughter Pia, who continues to star in his photos. This week, she was apparently caught disappointed having to go to bed while in the middle of dressing up as Elsa from Frozen.

Mario will have the chance to spend some more quality father-daughter time this week as he has once again missed out on the Italy squad, though no doubt he will be supporting the Azzurri from afar, always with an aim of returning to their ranks.

That is a long-term goal, though. His more immediate task is to help ensure Nice claim the third and final Champions League berth in Ligue 1. Bereft of Alassane Plea and Wylan Cyprien until the end of the season due to serious injury, there is a great level of expectation on Balotelli with two months of the campaign remaining.

To get back to Italy duty, success with Nice is the fastest possible route.

Don't ask me for interviews again – Balotelli hits out at media

Media coverage of a radio interview given by the former Liverpool forward has left him upset at how his quotes were taken out of context

Mario Balotelli will not be giving any more interviews, with the Nice striker unhappy at the way his comments about Edinson Cavani have been reported.

In a wide-ranging interview on French radio station RMC with Christophe Dugarry on Wednesday, Balotelli spoke about his experiences of suffering racist abuse on the pitch.

When is the Europa League draw?

The former Manchester City and AC Milan striker also revealed his hopes of receiving an international call-up to return to the Italy squad, but it was his comments about PSG forward Cavani that made headlines.

Balotelli described Cavani as “not a phenomenon” and said he rated Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao as better players in Ligue 1, but the Italian hit out in a social media post about the way his quotes were portrayed.

“I spoke about amazing young players, I spoke about racism, I spoke about Italy, all those newspaper could get was about the Cavani story… you just ridiculous seriously…,” Balotelli wrote on Instagram.

“Seriously don’t ask me for interviews again… no one. Balotelli isn’t a game, [he] is a person with [an] opinion so get your owns [sic] to judge on it.


.. just saying. Very sad that what interest the world are just the gossip and the stupid news… I spoke about racism in the society, I spoke about how much I love Ghana and Italy.. why would you twist that to all one stupid thing? Why? #godisbig

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“Really isn’t the fact of another stupid lie story coming out that bothers me but the fact that I spoke about society real problem and all that they could get was that? That’s why the society and new generation will grow weaker and weaker.”

Balotelli: I nearly joined Barcelona!

The Nice star discussed life in France as well as the possibility of moving to Camp Nou, while he used the chance to hit out at Liverpool once more

Mario Balotelli claimed he once was close to joining Barcelona, while he blasted Liverpool as a club and called playing for Manchester City a “dream”.

Man Utd can have Griezmann

The troubled striker is presently playing for Nice after his contract at Liverpool expired, and his goals have fired them into Ligue 1 title contention.

And he admitted that he once came close to moving to Camp Nou, but his asking price proved to be too high.

“I nearly joined Barcelona, but the club that had me at the time wanted money,” the 26-year-old told RMC.

There is talk of the former Inter starlet finally focusing on his performances on the pitch and leaving aside distractions to reach his peak.

And Balotelli believes the environment surrounding him at Nice is ideal for him to showcase his potential, similar to the situation he found at City and unlike the difficulties he was confronted by at Liverpool.

“Manchester City was a dream because there was such an Italian atmosphere there. Don’t speak to me about Liverpool, please. There was a team with great people, fantastic fans, but the place…

“There are four players here [at Nice] who have really impressed me: Jean-Michel Seri, Ricardo Pereira, Wylan Cyprien and Alassane Plea. I think they will become big players in future and have such potential.

H​ow Guardiola is changing the Man City defence

“We often go out to dinner together as a team, to help build that unity. Nice were top of the table for a long time and proved we can do it.

Despite his love for life in France, Balotelli did endure a low point over the new year period when he went a run of games without scoring while picking up two red cards.

And the Italy striker has admitted that he does not take particularly to the job of defending from the front, while he discussed racist abuse he suffered from Bastia fans in February and used the opportunity to lash out at reports in the press once more.

Mario Balotelli Nice Caen

“He [Nice coach Lucien Favre] wants players to work on pressing and all that,” Balotelli added. “I don’t like defending, but modern football is like that, you have to work all week to be good at the weekend.

Man Utd have never had it this bad

“The problem with Bastia is that it’s bigger than football. I couldn’t say anything during the match, but afterwards I wanted to use my voice and say something for those who feel they can’t react in these situations. I did it for them.

“I don’t care what people think. They only see me on the pitch for 90 minutes per week. What you read in the Press is always rubbish. I am not someone who likes to talk a lot, I never lost my head. I have very few friends now, but they are true friends.

“Every now and then I read ‘Oh Balotelli is going out with this girl’. I mean, who cares?”

Super Mario’s World: Brazilian Balotelli in gym fight

The fun-loving Italian indulged in a spot of play fighting with Yoan Cardinale and got in touch with his South American side this week

Mario Balotelli was back on the goal trail this week, keeping Nice’s title ambitions alive with a 2-2 home draw against Caen.

Although they have slipped five points behind leaders Monaco, a defeat would surely have been critical in their hopes of lifting the Ligue 1 crown, but that is exactly where they appeared to be heading as they fell 2-0 behind with less than a quarter of the match to go.

Until that point, Balotelli had not had a great influence on the game, yet he pounced following a free kick to scramble his side back into the match. Five minutes later, Stathis Donis fired a shot off both posts and into the net to draw them level. Lucien Favre’s side could not find a winner, but at least their championship aspirations remain realistic.

Unlike some players, who prefer to ignore football when not playing, Mario follows the sport closely and celebrated Dries Mertens’ goal for Napoli against Real Madrid on Twitter, though the Serie A side would ultimately be eliminated.

Merteeeeens.. e uno!

— Mario Balotelli (@FinallyMario) March 7, 2017

It was clear he was keeping a close eye on events at Camp Nou, where Barcelona executed an astonishing comeback to defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League 6-1, and he paid particular homage to Neymar.

The Brazilian was in outstanding form for the Catalans as he scored twice in the dying seconds to guide them through, against the French champions – a team that Balotelli has trolled in the past. However, with Nice now trailing PSG in Ligue 1, he chose instead to praise the forward, posting simply: “Crack.”


@neymarjr #crack #hermano

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Perhaps inspired by the Barca star, the Italy international has notably been in touch with his Brazilian side away from the field. Nice centre-back Dante, a long-time member of the Selecao squad, is a keen ukelele player, and Balotelli was delighted to be central to a pagode jam – a traditional style of music from the South American nation – that the veteran was enjoying. 


Volaaaaare.. ooooohh @dantebahia

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Not only was the 26-year-old serenaded by his team-mate, he also had the opportunity to test out Dante’s haircut. Who knows where Balotelli found the wig from, but it’s a strong bet that the striker, who is notoriously flambouyant with his choice of haircuts, will not be dabbling in the wild afro of his colleague. Nevertheless, Mario seemed to enjoy it while it lasted.


Con mio fratello @dantebahia With my brother “””” #esporteespetacular #we

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Capoeira, the graceful Brazilian martial art, was probably not on his mind earlier this week when he was embroiled with goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale in a training room wrestling match. However, there was clearly nothing malicious in the bout.


Fight club @yoancardi #amie

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Nice’s first-choice goalkeeper has often been on the receiving end of Balotelli’s pranks this season, but on this occasion he was forced to the ground by his team-mate, who looked in complete control of the battle, which left team-mates scrambling for cover. The Italian got in position to execute an arm bar, but perhaps wisely thought better of it before letting his opponent free.

Indeed, Balo has been all about the love this week and took the chance to wish all the women in his life ‘Happy International Women’s Day’ last Wednesday. In particular, he singled out his daughter, Pia and his mother.


Happy women’s day to all of you #pia #mamma #cri And all of you women out there #youareamazing

A post shared by Mario Balotelli

VIDEO: Balotelli scores Nice opener in comeback draw

The former Liverpool striker netted his 10th goal of the season for the Ligue 1 title challengers as they came from behind to draw 2-2 with Caen.

With his club losing 2-0 to Caen in a Ligue 1 contest on Friday, Mario Balotelli initiated a comeback by tapping home Nice’s opening goal in the 71st minute.

PSG slam Champs-Elysees claim

The Italian’s easy finish, which was made possible by a Dante header across the goalmouth, was Nice’s first goal in a six-minute span. In the 77th minute, substitute Anastasios Donis scored to put the teams on level terms.

Balotelli’s second-half strike was his 10th league goal of the season for Nice. 

71′ @FinallyMario gives the Niçois a chance in this one!#OGCNSMC 1-2