NICE, France, Mar 13 – Mario Balotelli made headlines once again with a quirky goal celebration after firing the winner in Marseille’s 1-0 victory over the fiery Italian’s former club Nice, but there was one person who wasn’t amused.
A week after his Instagram selfie video celebration against Saint-Etienne, Balotelli played ‘rock, paper, scissors’ with Florian Thauvin after bagging the decisive goal in the 61st minute of his first match against Nice, who he left in January having not scored a goal all season.
Nice defender Christophe Herelle’s verdict of Balotelli’s antics was to the point: “That goal celebration pissed me off.”
“He did not score a single goal in six months and I saw him running like never before. At some point you have to respect the club, the people and the fans,” said Herelle ahead of Nice’s match with Toulouse on Friday.
At half-time the 28-year-old was filmed by Canal Plus arguing with his old teammates, with whom he had a tense relationship in his final months at Nice.
“He told us that he didn’t want (Nice coach) Patrick Vieira coming out at the same time as him. I told him to shut it,” Herelle said.
Balotelli’s winner on Sunday took his tally to five in seven matches since arriving at Marseille, and Rudi Garcia’s side have seen a sudden upturn in form after a miserable winter that saw them dumped out of the French Cup by fourth-tier Andrezieux and finish bottom of their Europa League group.
The win extended their unbeaten run to six — with five wins — ahead of Saturday’s visit to hated rivals Paris Saint-Germain.