Monday, 24 September, 2018

New Italy coach Mancini vows to restore Azzurri pride

Roberto Mancini appointed new Italy boss with an aim of rebuilding squad for Euro 2020 New Italy coach Mancini vows to restore Azzurri pride
Melinda Barton | 15 May, 2018, 18:53

Newly appointed Italy head coach Roberto Mancini, says he will talk to long-excluded striker Mario Balotelli about a possible return to the national team.

It will be a first role in global management for Mancini, who has left Russian club Zenit St Petersburg to take up the post.

Mancini is replacing Gian Piero Ventura, who was sacked in November after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Mancini led Manchester City to their first English league title in 44 years in 2012, and won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan.

His contract will run until 2020, but stipulates an automatic extension should Italy qualify for the European Championships that year, and also includes various incentive-based bonus payments.

Mancini is under no illusions that the rebuild task will be a tough one, but while others are making plans for this summer's World Cup, what can we expect from the new Italy boss?

"The failure to qualify for the World Cup caused mourning and this shows how important it is for our country", he said.

Before signing the contract with the Italian Federation Mancini agreed with the Russian "Zenith" about the mutual termination of the contract without financial compensation.

He signed his new deal later in the day.

"I'm emotional because the bench of the national team is not something trivial", the 53-year-old, who made 36 appearances for the Azzurri as a player, told his introductory press conference.

Mancini's first match in charge will be a friendly against Saudi Arabia on May 28 before matches with France and Holland on June 1 and June 4. We are happy, Roberto is happy.

In Mancini, Italy has a coach with a solid track record as a title-winner with 13 trophies in club football.

Since leaving Etihad Stadium in 2013, Mancini also managed Galatasaray and Inter Milan before joining Zenit in June 2017.

Mancini, a former Lazio and Sampdoria forward, had said coaching the national side would be "extraordinary" and would allow him to fulfil his dream of winning the World Cup.