Nice coach Lucien Favre revelled in Mario Balotelli coming good in Ligue 1 and suggested he has enjoyed a better season than he would have done had he played with Liverpool this term.
The Italy striker has flourished in France, scoring 15 goals in 23 league games to fire Nice into the Champions League qualifiers thanks to a third-place finish.
Allowed to leave Liverpool on a free in August, Balotelli has also been shown three red cards, but Favre has impressively got the best from the infamously temperamental striker.
And, with Liverpool yet to be certain of their place in next season's Champions League heading into the final day of the Premier League season, Favre believes his man has got the better end of the deal.
Favre told a news conference: "It's clear, we must tell the truth, at the beginning, everyone was asking questions - 'Will it work?'
"It was not easy to bet on that. But again, I said throughout the season, he helped us. He scored goals, in September I think, which gave us points, which gave us confidence.
"Even if, in January-February, it was difficult for him. We still managed to get 0-0, 1-1 ... After that, he caught up on other matches. What he lacks is consistency.
"I was open [to the signing of Balotelli]. We did not have too many solutions, but we talked and then I thought it was a good idea.
"In the end, it was a very good idea!
"All in all, he helped Nice. On the marketing side too, we must not deny it. It also helped him to re-enter in the race because he was not very good after Liverpool. He trained with the youth team.
"In Nice, he did a great thing. Liverpool is fourth in the English championship, Nice is third in the French championship. And I do not know if there is a lot of difference between the two."
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