Nice president supports Balotelli for Italy recall
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere has advised Italy head coach Gian Piero Ventura to recall controversial striker Mario Balotelli to his future squads.
Balotelli arrived at the Ligue 1 outfit in 2016 after failing to shine at Liverpool and has seven goals in 10 appearances this season.
He is without an Italy cap since the 2014 World Cup, during which he scored the winner in a 2-1 victory against England.
Since then the fiery forward has endured a mixed club career with failed spells at Anfield and at San Siro with AC Milan, before finally settling in the south of France.
Rivere gave a glowing endorsement of the former Inter and Manchester City forward, even going as far as to saying he would call Ventura in support of his striker.
"I don't know Ventura," Rivere told Gazzetta dello Sport. "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.
"When I met him [Balotelli] we spoke for four hours. I convinced him that with us he would rediscover the essence of football and his smile."
Italy face a play-off against Sweden to make the World Cup after finishing second behind Spain in Group G.