'He's shown interest' – Flamengo president reveals Balotelli talks

The Italian striker has had discussions with the Brazilian side since departing Marseille, according to the club’s president

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Flamengo president Rodolfo Landim says the club has held talks with Mario Balotelli following the expiration of the forward’s contract with Marseille.

Balotelli’s contract with the Ligue 1 side expired this summer after originally joining in January on a half-year deal following the termination of his deal with Nice.

He went on to score eight goals in 12 games for Marseille following 10 scoreless appearances with Nice to start the Ligue 1 campaign.

Now on the hunt for a new club, Balotelli has been linked with a move to Brazilian side Flamengo, and the club’s president admitted that discussions have been held although nothing concrete has come from talks between the two parties.

“It is not news to anyone that when [manager Jorge] Jesus arrived he requested that we add another player,”  Landim told Ferj per Globo Esporte. 

“In this case, Balotelli is a great player. During the period that Marcos Braz and Bruno Spindel were doing their trip [in Europe], they came into contact with Balotelli, who showed a real interest in playing at Flamengo and said he would like to. 

“It has been nothing beyond that so far. It was a quick talk they had, that’s what they told me.”

He added: “He’s a great player, no doubt. Now there’s a lot of water to roll under that bridge. 

“It is fact: he is free in the market, but there’s nothing else besides what I’m saying. There was contact and he showed interest in playing here and the conversation has not evolved since then.

“The evaluation process is an ongoing process. We started doing this at the beginning of the year and we will always be looking to evaluate, sign good players that we understand can improve the quality, and eventually sell players if we understand that the team got too big.”

Balotelli has played for seven clubs throughout his professional career, having featured in Lumezzane and Inter before making the move to England to join Manchester City.

A move to AC Milan came after before a brief spell with Liverpool before Balotelli moved to France in 2016 to feature for Nice and Marseille.

Flamengo currently has Brazilian striker Gabigol on loan from Inter and Balotelli would be the 10th signing of 2019 if he does indeed move to Brazil.