Balotelli: Ligue 1 is harder than I thought

Ligue 1 By: Olakunle Brown | 15/03/2017

Balotelli in action

Italian forward Mario Balotelli has confessed that he never thought that the French Ligue 1 would be difficult.

The 26-year-old joined Nice at the summer in a surprise move but has settled well, scoring 12 goals for the Lucien Favre's side in all competitions so far this season.

"This is not an easy league but I can't compare it to the Premier League," Balotelli said in an interview with Christophe Dugarry on RMC. "It will always be the best in the world.

"I thought that Ligue 1 would be easier, [but] it is very physical and tactical. The Italian league is better than the French league in terms of organisation and refereeing. It's weird the French league is not up there with the others, we need to find the problems because it is very important."

Also, Balotelli praised his young team-mates and predicts a big future for the quartet.

"Everything is good. I feel really good here," Balotelli said. "We have exceptional fans. They truly encourage us each match. I want to thank them.

"This is a young team. I am young but they are even younger. Since I have arrived here I have seen so many good players. Talented, young - I think the average age here at Nice is 22.

Balotelli shots

"There are four players who really impress me: Jean Seri, Ricardo Pereira, Wylan Cyprien and Alassane Plea. I think they have enormous potential and will become big players. I think they'll stay at least one more year. We were first in the league for a long time. We proved that we can do it. I am not surprised. The squad is very strong."

Nice are currently third on the Ligue 1 log with 63 points, two behind second placed Monaco and five adrift defending champions Paris Saint-Germain with nine games to play before the end of the season.