'Idiot' Former Man City and Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli courts more controversy in France

Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the French L1 football match Nice vs Marseille on October 01, 2017 at the 'Allianz Riviera' stadium in Nice, southeastern France.

Former Manchester City and Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been courting controversy again over in France.

Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring during the French L1 football match between Rennes and Nice on September 17, 2017 at Roazhon Park in Rennes, western France.

The Italian striker, no stranger to controversy during his spells at the Etihad and Anfield over the years, has enjoyed something of a renaissance in France in the last year.

He has bagged 25 goals in 38 games for Nice since leaving the Premier League.

But his club have endured a poor start to the season and surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to rivals Marseille last time out.

Balotelli had opened the scoring but at 4-2 down he passed up the opportunity to get his side back in the game from the penalty spot and instead allowed teammate Plea to take the spot kick.

Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the French L1 football match Nice vs Marseille on October 01, 2017 at the 'Allianz Riviera' stadium in Nice, southeastern France.

He duly missed and after the game Balotelli was accused by some sections of the French press of bottling it in the big derby match.

That has sparked a furious response from Super Mario who has quashed claims that he was too scared to take the penalty, as reported by Get France Football News.

"Don’t tell me that I was scared to take the penalty," Balotelli said, as reported by Get France Football News.

"I have taken much more difficult ones. I was trying to help a team-mate who was having a difficult evening.

Gent's Thomas Matton and Nice's Mario Balotelli (R) vie for the ball during a friendly football match between Belgian first league soccer team KAA Gent and French Ligue 1 team OGC Nice on...

"Seriously, those who think I was scared have never seen me play football. Idiot."

Balotelli was also caught on camera verbally abusing his teammates at half-time in the game, as reported by The Sun.

The 27-year-old was filmed punching an advertising board on his way back to the changing room where he is reported to have sworn at teammates and scalded them for conceding 3 goals in 10 minutes.

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