Vieira drops Balotelli from Nice squad


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Balotelli is absent from the 18-man group named by coach Patrick Vieira for Saturday's (AEST) clash.

A statement on Nice's website announcing the squad said only that Balotelli was absent due to Vieira's decision.

Balotelli missed pre-season with Nice as his future with the club was unclear, Marseille among the teams linked with signing the striker.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini said last month Balotelli is having fitness issues and Nice team-mate Dante said this week the 28-year-old returned from holiday "with some extra weight".

Balotelli has made two Ligue 1 starts this season and was on the bench for Nice's last match, a 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain.

The striker came off at the bench in that defeat but is yet to score this season, having hit 33 league goals across two previous campaigns with Nice.