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IF YOU ASK ANY FOOTBALL FAN around the world the likelihood is that they will have heard of Mario Balotelli, either for his football abilities or his off the field antics. There’s no denying that the 27-year-old, who was thrust into the spotlight at just 15 years old by Italian side Lumezzane, is blessed with talent, but are people right to suggest that the former Internazionale man has already reached his potential, or is there still more to come from Super Mario?

Balotelli’s selling point has always been his ability to deliver in front of goal and he’s managed to do this for every side he has played for, barring Liverpool where he endured arguably the worst spell of his 12-year career. In terms of what he has delivered so far, he has hit 138 goals and provided 32 assists in 335 games. When you take into account minutes he has spent on the field, he averages a goal around every 1.5 games, which is an impressive ratio to keep up over the length of time that he has been playing.

There was a time when Balotelli announced himself as one of the best players on the planet and a potential future Balon d’Or winner. But while the latter ship seems to have sailed, at 27, he still has the chance to improve and fulfil the kind of potential many people thought he had a few years ago. In terms of attributes, he possesses pace, power and an eye for goal, as well as proving he can score in different leagues around Europe including the top flight in England, Serie A and Ligue 1. There is no doubt this is a mark of a quality player.

The Italian striker is currently plying his trade at OGC Nice in Ligue 1 and has already forged an impressive goalscoring record there. In 49 outings he has managed to bag 33 goals, averaging a goal every 1.25 games based on the time he has spent on the pitch. Nice currently sit in sixth place in the league but are well off of the pace in terms of challenging for a top three finish. They’ve scored 24 goals in the 2017/18 campaign so far and Balotelli has hit 10 of those, even though he has missed six games due to injury and suspension.

It will be difficult for clubs to ignore Balotelli and his impressive record, and, at 27, he’s still the right age for top clubs to look at too. He’s got more to give in terms of ability and will still continue to improve over time, but it’s likely he will need to move again, possibly to a more ambitious side in Ligue 1.

Football fans can get all the latest football betting and transfer news on the Italian striker at Betting.com, one of the best places to get all the sports betting and reviews. Balotelli devotees would argue that he wouldn’t look out of place at the likes of Monaco and Lyon, and can even see him starring for money-laden Paris Saint-Germain at the very highest level.