Dante: Balotelli criticism a misunderstanding

Nice defender Dante insists there was a "misunderstanding" of criticism levelled at Mario Balotelli by team-mate Valentin Eysseric last weekend.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
16th February 2017

article:16th February 2017

Following Nice’s 2-2 draw with Rennes, which Mario Balotelli missed due to flu, team-mate Valentin Eysseric was scathing about the Italian’s absence.

“It is a shame he lets his head drop, you see him in training every day. He’s such a great player,” Eysseric told BeIN Sports.

“I think he looks like he wants nothing to do with us. It’s really disappointing. We could’ve really used his help in a game like this.

“We know the coach demands enormous effort from his squad. He won’t accept anyone taking their foot off the gas and you saw that with Mario Balotelli.”

However, in an interview with Sport360, the pair’s club-mate Dante insisted there is no issue between Eysseric and Balotelli.

“That was a bit of a misunderstanding, or at least a wrong appreciation of Eysseric’s words,” Dante said. “Balotelli is part of the collective and does a lot for the team.

“It is not a question of – does Nice play better with or without Balotelli? Rather, it’s clear that he weighs in a positive way on the team.”

Balotelli has scored 11 goals in 18 games since moving to Nice last summer and Dante is adamant that the former Manchester City and Inter Milan striker is more committed than the media suggests.

“He is a very dedicated and focused player, despite what the media may say or write,” added Dante. “He is trying to get rid of that negative image.

“Balotelli is a good player and a good person. He has scored nine goals so far this season and contributes a great deal to the team.”