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Nobody tells me what to do – Nice stay was Balotelli's choice

Mario Balotelli wanted to leave Nice at the end of last season but insists it was his decision to stay.

Marseille were heavily linked with a move for the Italy international, but the protracted negotiations broke down amid reports the fee demanded by Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola stopped an agreement being reached.

Nice announced this week the 28-year-old had opted to remain at the Allianz Riviera for a third season despite criticism from Patrick Vieira, who took over as head coach in June, for failing to report to pre-season training on time.

Balotelli claimed it would have been easy for him to complete a transfer away from the Ligue 1 club, reiterating he turned down five offers in order to stay.

"To be honest, at the end of last season I wanted to leave. The president and the club knew it," he told OGC Nice TV.

"[I stayed] because the atmosphere is great with my team-mates, the club and everything. I also had one year left on my contract, so I decided to stay.

"It's my decision and nobody tells me what to do. I do whatever I want, with all due respect. The final decision regarding my career is always up to me.

"I had five very concrete proposals and I waited. But in the end, I decided to stay. But I could have left very easily."