Nice President Jean-Pierre Rivère believes Italy CT Giampiero Ventura can call Mario Balotelli, insisting “I’ve never seen” bad behaviour from him.
The striker hasn’t been capped by his country since the 2014 World Cup, but his fine form in France has led to calls for a recall.
“When I first met Mario, we talked for four hours,” Rivère explained to Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I convinced him that with us he’d rediscover the essence of football and his smile. That’s how it was, and I’m happy.
“He has a talent which he hasn’t lost and he’s working hard for the World Cup.
“I don’t know Ventura, but I would be willing to call him to guarantee that Mario really is a good lad who will bring joy to the dressing room.
“I’ve never seen these ‘Balotellate’.
“Will he stay at Nice? It’s too early to say. In June I heard that even his mum thought Nice was the right place. And [Lucien] Favre is the ideal Coach to help him progress.
“But to have players like that, we have to be sure of being in the Europa League.”
Les Aiglons sold Dalbert to Inter this summer, and the President reveals it was a tough negotiation.
“His sale was unplanned. Inter started from a derisory offer, then we found a deal and the money can be invested.”
The patron was also asked about the Europa League double-header with Lazio, having been knocked out of the Champions League by Napoli.
“Napoli were better and when we arrived at that match we weren’t quite ready,” Favre said.
“Lazio is a great club, they have more experience, but we’re better now. We’ll try to do well at home.”