Marseille confirm signing of Mario Balotelli from Nice
By Tommaso Fiore
Last Updated: 23/01/19 6:47pm
Former Liverpool and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has joined Marseille on a six-month deal, the French club have confirmed.
The 28-year-old arrived in Marseille on Tuesday night and completed his medical before signing his contract and being unveiled to the media on Wednesday afternoon.
Balotelli joins on a free transfer from Ligue 1 neighbours Nice and will play a total of 17 matches at the Velodrome, earning a total of £2.6m until the end of the season, according to Sky in Italy.
The Italian forward started his career at Inter Milan before a £19m move to Manchester City, where he won the Premier League title in 2012.
He swapped City for AC Milan in 2012 but returned to England just two years later, joining Liverpool for £16m as a replacement for Barcelona-bound Luis Suarez.
After failing to impress during his time at Anfield, Balotelli went through an uneventful return to Milan on loan before rediscovering a rich vein of goalscoring form at Nice, with 43 goals across all competitions during his first two seasons in France.
Now Balotelli will be hoping to kick-start a new chapter of his career in southern France, as Marseille look to close in on a third-place finish that would guarantee them a spot in the Champions League qualifiers.
"I'm looking forward to playing with Marseille," he said. "OM is a great club, and their fans are very passionate. I was hoping to come here.
"I can't wait to score my first goal but the most important thing is the team. My goal is to score a lot of goals and assist my teammates.
"I hope the supporters will support us on Friday. The team and I will do the utmost."
Manager Rudi Garcia explained it is unlikely Balotelli will feature for Marseille as soon as Friday, when they face Lille in Ligue 1.
"He has not played for a month and has not trained for a month, it is impossible to see him start on Friday even though he would be eligible to play," he said.
"We'll have to wait to see how long it will be until he is 100% ready."