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Former Liverpool and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli will join Serie B AC Monza in a short-term deal, which the club’s chief executive has described as his “last chance”.
The 30-year-old forward has been a free agent since his contract with Brescia was terminated over the summer amid allegations of poor discipline.
According to Sky sportsBalotelli will undergo a medical exam on Monday before a deal that will see him join Monza until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Monza, who resides in northeast Milan, was promoted to Serie B after the 2019/20 season was cut short at the height of the pandemic.
The club was bought in 2018 by former AC Milan owner and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 83, who dreams of taking the club all the way to Serie A.
Balotelli, who was also linked to Vasco de Gama and Barnsley, will be Monza’s most notable acquisition yet, beating the deal to sign former Tottenham and Barcelona star Kevin-Prince Boateng in September.
Monza CEO Adriano Galliani, who previously worked with Balotelli at AC Milan, spoke of the forward’s imminent arrival, which he described as a “last chance”.
“I gave him a proper conversation and told him that this is really the last, absolutely last, completely last chance,” Galliani said, via Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I love Mario, he is a player with the kind of technical and physical qualities that should have allowed him to do so much more in his career.
“There were flashes of exceptional quality and I cannot understand why it cannot be improved further. After all, he’s only 30 years old. “
Berlusconi once described Balotelli as a ‘bad apple’, although Galliani insists there is no hard feelings between the boss and his new signing.
Galliani said: “The president is excited, he gave me the go-ahead, I passed Mario on the phone and they had a talk.
“The boy treated these talks like a friend. He accepted a lower salary with some variables being based on performance, appearances and promotion to Serie A.
“His agent Mino Raiola also took no commission. Mario resigned from a very important contract that he could have had in Rio de Janeiro with Vasco da Gama. “
Premier League winner Balotelli shone in his first spell in Milan between 2012 and 2014, scoring 30 goals in 54 appearances for the Rossoneri. However, when he came back on loan in 2015/16, it was a different story and he managed just three goals in 23 outings.
Since then he has played for Nice, Marseille and Brescia. While he has continued to score goals, stories of trouble off the field continue to plague his career.