'Balotelli will absolutely return to the Premier League'

The Italian striker roundly flopped at Liverpool and is now at Nice, but his agent believes he could one day return to England’s top-flight as he is a “world-class talent”

Mario Balotelli will “absolutely” return to the Premier League, according to his agent Mino Raiola.

The Italian striker left Liverpool for Ligue 1 side Nice in the summer, with Jamie Carragher claiming that the French club had “overpaid” after signing him on a free transfer.

Balotelli scored just one Premier League goal in his ill-fated Reds spell, and was also loaned to Milan during his spell at Anfield such was his fall down the pecking order.

Raiola, though, remains confident that his client will eventually make his way back to England.

“Italy is unlivable for him because of the attention he gets,” he told the Daily Mail. “If he proves he can become stable at Nice and score goals then imagine how attractive he would be to a Premier League manager next summer as a free agent. 

“France needs him, like they needed Zlatan (Ibrahimovic). He is good for the league but he will absolutely return to the Premier League.

“What would a real manager rather do? Gamble £100m on a striker or take Balotelli? Because no one can tell me he is not a world-class talent.”

Balotelli initially moved to England with Manchester City and won the Premier League under Roberto Mancini, prior to moving to Milan in 2013 for a reported €20 million fee.

Raiola, though, says that he should never have allowed the 26-year-old to leave the club.

“I should not have given him his way when he asked to leave City. It is the one big mistake I made,” Raiola added.

“Mario was unhappy and I should have said, ‘You’re feeling ****? You don’t like your job? Tough, grow up, get on with it.’ I needed to be cruel to be kind, but I was too nice.

“Mario’s flaw was that he was looking for love. He needed to be egocentric. He needed to eat, sleep,  and  football, no one else.

“Football needs to be his priority, not a fiancee, not even a wife. To be a top athlete, you make the sacrifice and after 11 or 12 years you redress the balance then lead the life you want.

“Pavel Nedved, who was one of my first players, had that focus to be a success and he was a model family man. Mario didn’t have that focus, then he got a reputation and if you have a reputation you don’t have credibility. That makes it more difficult.”

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