Sunday, 26 May, 2019

New head coach Roberto Mancini looking to make Italy a force again

Roberto Mancini Roberto Mancini had been widely expected to be given the Italy job Credit getty images
Deanna Wagner | 16 May, 2018, 12:11

Roberto Mancini has been appointed as the new head coach of Italy on a deal that runs until 2020, the Italian Football Federation announced on Monday evening.

Former Inter Milan and Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini was given the daunting task of rebuilding Italy's national side on Monday following their astonishing failure to qualify for the World Cup.

However, Mancini's first squad will be eagerly awaited and is expected to see the return of Nice forward Mario Balotelli, who he coached at Inter Milan and Manchester City.

The 53-year-old has signed a two-year contract to coach the Azzurri, leaving his post with Zenit St Petersburg to answer the call after Italy failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup. Carlo Ancelotti appeared to be the number one choice for the role, however the former Bayern boss reportedly turned down the opportunity to take the job due to an apparent dislike for some of the internal politics within the Italian FA. "I'm proud, for someone like me who came to Coverciano with the Under-14s in 1978, becoming Coach of the national team is one of the most attractive things that could happen".

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He will give up a reported 13 million euros in wages over the two remaining years on his Zenit contract to do national service. "I want to bring Italy back to where it belongs - on top of the world and Europe".

He never became a regular with Italy during his 10-year worldwide career, during which he won 36 caps and scored four goals.

Roberto Mancini has opened the door to Mario Balotelli making an global return as he prepares to take charge of Italy.

Roberto Mancini for the first time in his career he headed the national team. The Italy squad will convene on May 22 ahead of friendlies against Saudi Arabia (May 28), France (June 1) and the Netherlands (June 4). However, his Zenit team finished the Russian league in a disappointing fifth place.