Flamengo have pulled out of a deal to sign striker Mario Balotelli, the Brazilian club have confirmed.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool forward is a free agent following his departure from French club Marseille at the end of last season.
Balotelli had emerged as a target for Flamengo but is now tipped for a return to Italy after the South American side announced on Thursday that they had ended talks with 29-year-old.
A statement released by the Brazilian club read: “Flamengo, Mario Balotelli and his representatives have decided, by mutual agreement and after two days of cordial meetings in Monaco, to close all negotiations involving the possible signing of the player.”
Although Flamengo have not provided an explanation over why talks failed, it has been reported (via Goal ) that the club were reluctant to meet some of the striker’s demands, which allegedly included a request that they also sign his brother, Enock.
With a move to South America now seemingly off the table, Balotelli is expected to complete a return to Serie A for the first time since the 2015/16 season, when he represented AC Milan.
According to the Guardian , he is in talks with newly-promoted side Brescia and is set to join the club on a three-year deal.
The publication reports that the forward was finalising details of the move on Wednesday and is expected to make the switch official before the end of the week.
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Balotelli joined French club Marseille on a six-month contract in January after a two-and-a-half-year stay with Nice, which saw him score 43 goals in 73 appearances.
During his short spell with the Ligue 1 club, the Italian found the net eight times in just 15 games but left the Stade Velodrome at the end of last season.
He has been capped by his country 36 times, with his most recent call-up coming in a Nations League match against Poland last year.