Mario Balotelli's first training with Nice was attended by hundreds of fans: 'Normally there's only five or six of us!'
The 26-year-old landed in France after a troubled summer that saw him linked to dozens of teams all over Europe.
While the player's reputation is still dubious to say the least, with many believing he simply doesn't have the psychological discipline necessary to be a great champion, he still has an undeniable magnetic power to inspire passion.
His inaugural training with Nice, where he was the first to show up on the pitch, was attended by a crowd of more than 100 enthusiastic fans, who were there to see him play and ask for autographs and selfies.
The player himself seemed to be in a good mood, smiling to everyone and proving affable with the supporters and the staff.
“We've never seen anything like it, especially on a Thursday morning” said Nice ultras spokesman Gregory Massabo, as reported by the Gazzetta dello Sport. “Normally there are five or six people at the most.
“For him, there were already 200 of us. It's like we were already in the stadium.”
His signing, which completes a remarkable transfer campaign for the Ligue 1 team alongside those of Dante and Younes Belhanda, was greeted enthusiastically by the local Press.
“You can tell he is of a superior level,” writes Nice Matin's editor William Humberset. “He is our [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. This year Nice can expect something more than fourth place and a nice showing in the Europa League.”
Balotelli will be officially presented in a Press conference today at 11:00a.m. UK time.
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