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Ballotelli plans chopper stunt for Nice

AAP logoAAP 18/11/2016

Mario Balotelli has vowed to fly a helicopter over Nice if they win their first French title since 1959.

Lucien Favre's side have been the surprise package in Ligue 1 this season. They travel to ninth-placed St Etienne on Sunday and sit top of the table after 12 matches, ahead of Monaco and reigning champions Paris St Germain.

A rejuvenated Balotelli, who joined Nice on a free transfer from Liverpool this summer, has scored six goals in Ligue 1 this season and should Les Aiglons upset the odds with a title triumph, the Italian has his celebration set in stone.

"There is still a long way to go, but if we win the title, I will pilot a helicopter over Nice," Balotelli said.

"I'm happy here. I've settled in very quickly in this fantastic place. We have a good squad. I get along well with everyone. There are lots of good guys. For me, the strongest are (Wylan) Cyprien and (Alassane) Plea. I have a lot of fun with them."

Meanwhile, PSG coach Unai Emery has welcomed a competitive title race this season as the reigning French champions prepare to host Nantes on Saturday.

PSG have dominated Ligue 1 in recent years, having won four consecutive titles including last season's emphatic triumph which saw them finish 31 points ahead of their closest rival.

But the capital club, who currently sit third, face a sterner challenge this term as Nice and Monaco sit above them and Emery, who was appointed this summer, insists his side have a lot of respect for the teams around them.

"Nice and Monaco are working very well," former Sevilla coach Emery said at a press conference on Friday.

"We have a lot of respect for these two teams. They're our main rivals for the title. But I have faith in my team; we're making progress and Saturday's match is a chance to show that we're improving. Every match is a test."

Sunday's other matches will see fourth-placed Guingamp host Bordeaux while Marseille will look to get their season back on track when they take on Caen.

Metz are seeking their first win in six games as they take on Toulouse at the Stadium Municipal on Saturday.

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