'Scoring goals is not enough in modern football' - Balotelli told to work harder to earn respect

Nice coach Lucien Favre is enjoying working with the enigmatic Italian striker, but wants to see more from him as he seeks to become a complete player

Mario Balotelli has been told that he “must work more” at Nice in order to earn respect, with Lucien Favre pointing out that “scoring goals is not enough”.

The Italian striker has been a welcome hit in French football following his arrival from Liverpool in the summer of 2016.

He has found the target 13 times in 19 Ligue 1 appearances to help spearhead a surprise bid for title glory.

Darth Vader Balotelli shines in Ligue 1

Balotelli has, however, also faced all too familiar questions regarding his temperament and work rate, with Favre conceding that the 26-year-old is far from the finished article.

He told Tagesspiegel: "He needs to make more and better runs. Mario must work more if he wants the long-term respect of his teammates.

"Scoring goals is not enough in modern football."

While urging Balotelli to work on his contribution to the collective cause, Favre is enjoying working with a forward who has been difficult to handle at various points throughout his career.

Mario Balotelli Lille Nice Ligue 1

He added: "Mario's a nice lad, we get along well.

"You need to distinguish Balotelli the person and Balotelli the forward.

"He's a role model as a person, and regarding the forward... his goals definitely help us, and Mario's played really well in the past few games."

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Balotelli’s arrival at Nice as a free agent is just one example of the impressive business carried out by a club that continues to punch above its weight in a title tussle with big-spending Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain.

Favre said of that challenge: "All the teams around us are investing hugely.

"That's why qualification for the Champions League would be a miracle, and I will do everything to make it come true.

"There is nothing greater than the Champions League - not even the World Cup."