Mario Balotelli is close to returning to Italy to sign a three-year contract with promoted Serie A side Brescia, his hometown club, sources said on Wednesday.

The Lombard club, who returned to the top flight after winning the Serie B championship last season, are said to have beaten off competition from Fiorentina, Verona and Brazilian side Flamengo to secure the striker’s services.

Especially the Brazilians Flamengo seemed very eager to sign the popular striker but it seems that Balotelli has already set his mind on a return to the Serie A.

Despite being born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents, the strikerโ€™s family move to Bagnolo Mella in the province of Brescia when he was two.

He started showcasing his talent at a very young age during the times in Milan with Inter before he made a switch to the Premier League with Manchester City in 2010.

His next destination was back to the Serie A when AC Milan announced his signature for a rumoured โ‚ฌ20 million transfer move.

A year later Balotelli joined Liverpool for ยฃ16 million in an attempt to replace outgoing striker Luis Suarez but it wasnโ€™t a very good spell for the Ghana-born forward.

More recently, the striker joined two Ligue 1 sides, Nice and Marseille. Out of the two experiences, the one with the former was the most successful as he scored 33 goals in 61 matches.

The 29-year-old is a free agent after his contract with French side Marseille expired.

Before that had a mostly successful two-and-a-half-year stint with Nice. The former Inter, Manchester City, Liverpool and AC Milan striker is highly talented but he is also widely considered not to have made the most of his natural gifts due to his temperamental character.

He has frequently had strained relationships with coaches during his career and been involved in a series of bizarre off-field incidents.

He ended a four-year hiatus from the national team when he was called up by Italy coach Roberto Mancini for some friendly matches and a UEFA Nations League match against Poland last year, but he has not featured for the Azzurri since.

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