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Leagues: Ligue Un

Verratti tells Balotelli to get serious

Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Marco Verratti has challenged troubled Ligue 1 new boy Mario Balotelli to concentrate on his football all week long and not just on matchdays.

The former AC Milan, Manchester City and Liverpool striker scored twice on his debut for French outfit Nice on Sunday, where he is trying to resurrect his floundering career.

And the gloves were off when Italy international Verratti was asked what he thought of his compatriot.

“I just hope he realises that football is not just 90 minutes, but an all week long thing,” Verratti said at the PSG training ground.

“He’s a good player who has always had a problem with his mentality. But I do know he’s a good guy.”

The midfield enforcer was on the same side as Balotelli at the 2014 World Cup, where the striker had been tipped to peak but was instead one of the major disappointments of the tournament.

The 26-year-old signed a one-year deal at the Allianz Riviera after being allowed to leave Anfield on a free transfer.

He struck twice on his debut to help Nice beat Mediterranean rivals Marseille 3-2 in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

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