Outspoken agent makes bold Balotelli claims

Mario Balotelli can become one of the best four strikers in the world, according to his agent.

The former Liverpool forward has hit the ground running in Ligue 1 with Nice and not shy of talking up his client the outspoken Mino Raiola says he can be one of the world’s best.

“Mario Balotelli must continue like this. We are all very happy about the choice he made.

“He’s found a familiar environment in the French Riviera and the 2017 can be his year. If he’s fit he can be among the four best strikers in the world,” Raiola told Corriere dello Sport.

The 26-year-old has scored six goals in five games so far this season, but he was sent off in injury time in the recent 2-1 win over Lorient – just four minutes after firing the winning goal.

The Italian, who recently claimed joining Liverpool “was the worst mistake of my life”, signed for Nice on a free transfer on deadline day in August.

A few eyebrows were raised when Liverpool wrote off the £16million fee they paid AC Milan for Balotelli two years ago, but The Independent recently reported that Liverpool had placed a 30 per cent sell-on in the deal with Nice.

The Italy international was bought in the summer of 2014 by then Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, but scored just four goals in 28 appearances.