Mario Balotelli’s fresh start in the south of France began in style as he scored twice to inspire new club Nice to a 3-2 victory over Marseille, before revealing his regret over his move to Liverpool.
The Italian was quickly deemed surplus to requirements at Anfield by Jurgen Klopp, after he returned from a season-long loan at AC Milan and was immediately frozen out, before ultimately ending up in Ligue 1 after a string of clubs turned down the chance to sign the wild forward.
Balotelli has quickly began to repay Nice’s faith, though, as his lethal finishing ability and nonchalant swagger inspired them to victory in their derby clash, before he took a swipe at Klopp, Brendan Rodgers and his overall regret following his 2014 move to Liverpool.
‘It was the worst mistake of my life,’ Balotelli told Canal Plus after the game.
‘Apart from the fans, who were fantastic with me, I must be honest, and the players, who I had a good rapport with, I didn’t like the club.
‘I had two coaches, Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp. As people they didn’t make a good impression on me. I didn’t get along with them.’
Balotelli scored from a spot kick past Yohann Pele to open his account.
Balotelli continued to threaten without ever being able to overly test Pele, as the hosts pushed for the win, but they found themselves behind with 20 minutes to go.
Bouna Sarr was bundled to the floor, with the referee pointing to the spot before Gomis stepped up and beat Yoan Cardinale.
But, never one to be out of the limelight, Balotelli struck just a few minutes later as he headed home a well-placed cross with a powerful finish inside the six-yard box.
As Nice pushed for a winner, it was Cyprien who found it as a well-struck effort and questionable keeping from Pele ensured Balotelli got off to the perfect start.