Brescia have announced the signing of free agent Mario Balotelli ahead of their Serie A campaign, with the striker joining on a reported three-year deal with the newly promoted outfit.
However, despite a return of eight goals in 15 appearances for Marseille, financial restrictions at the Stade Velodrome meant the former Inter, Manchester City, Milan and Liverpool forward was left without a club once his short-term contract expired in June.
He returns to the Lombardy city where he spent much of his childhood after previous negotiations with Brazilian giants Flamengo broke down.
The striker celebrated his new team on Instagram, with the caption "Finally, I return to MY CITY!".
The club echoed that sentiment in a statement, confirming the striker had a strong desire to return to the city of his youth, which has fueled his signing.
"Mario returns home," Brescia said in a statement. "The return to Italy, after three years, was made possible by Mario's determination and enthusiasm to return to Brescia, the city where he grew up and where, since he was a child, he stood out for his physical and technical skills."
The Palermo-born striker will now hope to force his way back into international reckoning having signed on the dotted line with Brescia, who won promotion to Italy’s top flight by topping Serie B last season.
Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has never hidden his admiration of Balotelli, and spoke about the 2010 Champions League winner as recently as this weekend, saying it will be on his former player to prove the situation in Brescia is a good one for him.
As well as securing a Champions League winners medal with Inter, Balotelli boasts a wealth of honours in Italy and England.
He won the Premier League and the FA Cup during his three-year stint at Manchester City, and became a cult figure on the terraces in the process, while a hat-trick of Serie A titles lit up his time with the Nerazzurri.
Following his exploits in Manchester, the former Lumezzane youth player returned to the San Siro to play in the black and red of Milan before an ill-fated spell with Liverpool in 2014.
Balotelli will be officially unveiled at a Brescia player at the club’s headquarters in Via Solferino on Monday afternoon.