Nice striker Mario Balotelli says he was persuaded to stay at the club by new coach Patrick Vieira despite having offers from five other teams, including one in China.

Balotelli angered Nice fans by missing training sessions during the summer as he weighed up his options before deciding to stay on for a third season at the club.

The 28-year-old revealed one of the offers came from Nice’s bitter rivals Marseille but said Vieira “changed 80 per cent of my decision”.

“I had the intention to leave and the club knew it,” said Balotelli, who has scored 43 goals in 66 appearances for the club.

“I understand the fans but they need to understand my side. Nice are not playing in Europe, Marseille are playing in Europe.

“It is nothing to do with the supporters, I look at what is best and in the end I decided to stay here.”

“It is my choice because nobody tells me what to do. I do what I feel and what I want… the final decision in my career is always mine. I can have people who give me advice but the final decision is always mine.”

Balotelli, who in May made his first Italy appearance in four years under new coach Roberto Mancini, said his target of playing at Euro 2020 had dissuaded him from going to China.

“I had a big offer of money from China but not for now,” Balotelli explained. “I want to play the Euro 2020 for the national team and if I go to China that would be difficult.”

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