Overlooked by new Italy boss Giampiero Ventura for the World Cup qualifying fixture against Liechtenstein and suspended from Nice’s Ligue 1 meeting with Saint-Etienne on Sunday, there was the promise of a relatively quiet week for Mario Balotelli.
But nothing with the former Liverpool striker can ever truly be considered serene, and he has taken the opportunity to make the most of his time off.
It was a week in which a former manager actually took the time to agree with Balo’s assessment of him.
Recently, the Italian was asked in an interview who his worst coach was, and he replied frankly: “Not Klopp, I am not angry with him. If he has created a certain situation at Liverpool, maybe he should have had more patience with me.
“In truth, I had the biggest disappointment with Rodgers. I enjoyed myself with him in training but our relationship was a disaster.”
The erstwhile Liverpool boss admitted to Talksport on Thursday: “He was probably absolutely spot on. In all fairness, I just find it very difficult to connect with Mario.
“On the field, he tried his best. But yeah, it certainly wasn’t something that worked out as everyone would like.”
While Rodgers was looking back, though, Balotelli, who from the Instagram post above was in fine touch during training, was looking forwards. Speaking to Mediaset he admitted that he is happy in Nice and made a pledge that if they can hang on to top spot in Ligue 1, he’ll do something special in his own inimitable style to celebrate.
“I'm happy here [at Nice]. I've settled in very quickly in this fantastic place,” he explained. There are a lot of youngsters in the team and the coach is very good and I've found everything favorable.
“There's still a long way to go, but if we do win the title, I'm going to fly a helicopter over Nice.”
When Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain recorded victories on Friday and Saturday respectively, that dream looked a little further away, particularly with Nice slated to play an away match against a Saint-Etienne side unbeaten at home on the Sunday.
Balotelli was not in tow for that encounter, having picked up three bookings within the period of 10 domestic matches, rendering him suspended. But every cloud in his world has a silver lining, and it left him free to enjoy the Milan derby at San Siro, where his beloved AC Milan were pegged back late on by Inter.
If the 2-2 draw was not what he was after, he would have been more pleased with news filtering through from France, where Nice had picked up a gutsy 1-0 win thanks to a Valentin Eysseric goal.
Goalkeeper Yoann Cardinale was not exactly strenuously tested during that encounter, which is probably just as well. Earlier in the week, Balotelli had decided to take a shine to the No.1, trolling him because of an ugly picture in France Football. “What is that!?” the Italian exclaimed numerous times before pointing the camera at the suddenly shy keeper.
Even when he’s not playing, there’s always something going on in Super Mario’s world.