OGC Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivère has told his club website the reasons that Italy superstar Mario Balotelli, despite the long-standing interest of Marseille and a big-money offer from China, decided to stay with Les Aiglons.
Balotelli's much-rumoured summer move to Olympique de Marseille was so close to going through that the Italy striker was even seen at OM's training centre over the summer, but in the end he opted to stay at the Allianz Riviera for season 20187-19.
Furthermore, according to club president Jean-Pierre Rivère, the Italian was also presented with 'a very, very big-money offer' from China, but the striker did not hesitate in making his decision.
"Very few people would have turned down such an offer," Rivère told OGC Nice's official website. "But he did so immediately, saying that his only priority is to play his football in a high-level league, and ideally also play in European competition once again."
While he will have to wait at least a season to fulfill this last wish, Balotelli will be eligible to return to action in Ligue 1 Conforama after he purges the final game of a three-match suspension - the combination of an accumulation of yellow cards and unsportsmanlike conduct in Week 37 of last season - as Patrick Vieira's side play host to in-form Dijon in their Week 3 clash at the Allianz Riviera on Saturday.