The 27-year-old has scored 16 goals in 21 games in his second season at Ligue 1 side Nice, but hankers for big trophies again.
“My aim is to return to a big club to win something important again,” Balotelli told Thursday’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport.
Mario Balotelli, Edinson Cavani and Falcao: Are the only three players to have scored 10 or more Ligue 1 goals in both the 2016/17 season and the 2017/18 season pic.twitter.com/Jsz5QHPRKi
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 20, 2017
“I’d like to get back to having a strong squad behind me. I want to play in the Champions League and win something.”
Balotelli won six trophies with Inter Milan including the Champions League before moving to Manchester City in 2010, followed by two spells at AC Milan either side of an unsuccessful stint at Liverpool.
He insisted he has put his wilder days behind him and surrounded by his family was enjoying football as never before.
“It’s a special season, it should always be like that. I have no pressure, I work well but I have been working well since my time at Liverpool but goals always make the difference.
“I was acting as a teenager but I’ve hurt nobody,” continued Balotelli of his controversial past. “Anyway people can’t ask a 20-year-old to stay at home.”
Balotelli left Liverpool on a free transfer in August 2016 to join Nice who are sixth in the French league this season.
But a return to an Italian club could be complicated, Balotelli believes.
“It’s hard to say (about AC Milan), there would be too much pressure on me like the last time. I wanted to visit my old team-mates a few weeks ago but (club chief executive Marco) Fassone said it was better not to do it.
“Inter are a great club. I got on very well there. I spoke with (sporting director Piero) Ausilio, I let him know that I would come back willingly. But it was only joking.”
Balotelli has 33 goals in 49 games since joining Nice. A lot of people wrote him off, but he’s still doing the business and is actually carrying his team this season too.
— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) December 19, 2017
But he added that “without a doubt” his best days were spent at Premier League leaders Manchester City, with whom he won the English title in dramatic fashion on the final day of the 2011-12 season.
“I had my best season there and there’s a unique atmosphere at the club, I’d return to play there even without a salary.”
The transfer window opens soon – on January 1, 2018 – meaning speculation is starting to gather momentum throughout Europe.
Here, we take a look at three big stories dominating the headlines on Thursday.
Will any of the following deals happen?
Let us know your thoughts.
According to the Daily Express, the Chilean is being chased by his former club and Manchester City, of course managed by his ex-Blaugrana boss Pep Guardiola.
Sanchez’s Gunners deal expires in June and it looks very unlikely that new terms will be finalised to ensure he stays in north London.
While a move back to Barcelona – the club where he spent three seasons between 2011 and 2014 – would appeal, the 29-year-old knows he can secure a better financial package, as well as work with Guardiola again, at City.
Indeed, it is rumoured the attacker might receive an offer which sky rockets his wages to £400,000-a-week.
The Premier League table-toppers, however, are more likely to bring in Sanchez in the summer – fearing that they don’t want to disrupt the balance in their side at the moment.
Either way, Sanchez won’t cost a transfer fee and will be capable of hitting the ground running with his Premier League experience.
According to the Independent, the 22-year-old is set to trigger a tug-of-war for his services by trying to force a move out of the Ligue 1 side, at least by the end of the season.
While Chelsea are also tracking Everton’s Ross Barkley, boss Antonio Conte prefers Lemar and has made his interest known.
However, Lemar apparently has his heart set on a switch to Anfield next summer.
The £90m-rated star is looking to become the latest player to leave the French Riviera side and a move to the Premier League seems like his preferred destination.
Given he is still contracted to the red and whites until 2020, don’t expect Monaco to sell their best asset cheaply in either January or the summer.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lucas Moura is set to join La Liga side Real Betis on loan in January.
According to Telefoot in France, Moura is close to agreeing an initial six-month deal with the Andalusian side although the 25-year-old’s final wage demands could prove to be a stumbling block.
Betis are enjoying a steady season under Quique Setien in mid-table but the arrival of a talent like Lucas could spark the club into life for the second-half of the campaign.
It looks like a deal which could benefit all parties so expect PSG to allow the wide-man to leave the club on a short-term basis, with a view to a permanent switch.
Bayern Munich have announced the signing of Hoffenheim and Germany striker Sandro Wagner.
Wagner will join the Bundesliga champions in the January transfer window after signing a two-and-a-half year contract keeping him at the Allianz Arena until 2020.
The 30-year-old has scored five times for Joachim Low’s Germany side and a move to Munich should help him feature in next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The striker, who has been given the number two shirt, admits he is delighted to be returning to his home city and said it was an easy decision to say yes.
“I’m delighted,” Wagner told Bayern’s official website.
“A long journey for me is now at an end and I can return to my home, my club. I’m very happy that it’s come off.
“Bayern are the best club in Germany and one of the best in the world.
“When I got the offer, I didn’t have to think about it for long.”
Wagner, who came through the youth set-up at Bayern, is joining a side 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) December 21, 2017