Saturday March 9 2019
Balotelli: 'Marseille just like Napoli'

Mario Balotelli said he would “like to stay at Olympique Marseille” and “the only Italian club I could play for would be Napoli.”

The Italy international has made a spectacular start to his time at the Stade Velodrome since the January transfer from Nice, scoring four goals in just six games.

“The fact of the matter is that my contract expires at the end of this season and after that, we’ll discuss it,” SuperMario told La Provence newspaper.

“I’ve told my agent that I am happy here and want to stay. My first two seasons at Nice were good, but Marseille is on another level, another type of football and atmosphere.

“As far as I am concerned, Marseille are the biggest club in France. I thank Nice and its supporters, but there’s no comparison with Marseille.

“I’ve always felt that I would fit in here and I can’t explain why. The atmosphere is a bit like Naples. I’ve said the only Italian club I could play for would be Napoli. It’s more or less the same thing at Marseille.”

Balo has been linked with Napoli many times over his career, but President Aurelio De Laurentiis was never convinced by his notoriously fiery character.

“I do have a particular personality, I like to have a lot of fun with my teammates. When I arrived at Marseille, everyone was feeling pretty down, but it’s different now. I think I’ve helped change that too.

“I’m not saying we’re all completely happy now, but the dressing room is a lot more playful nowadays.”

Having said that, Balo did try to resist the hazing ritual of singing during a team dinner.

“I wanted to organise a dinner or give gifts, but they insisted I had to sing. So I sang La Marseillaise.”

It was Marseille Coach Rudi Garcia who fought to have Balotelli join the team, with negotiations already strong last summer.

“I have a good rapport with Garcia. He said so many times that he wanted me here and I needed to feel that positive mentality. He gave me confidence. Some players only join if they are sure a club really wants them, but for me the important thing is that the Coach wants me.”

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