Mancini To Balotelli: Wake Up Before Your Career Sinks

Vieira Asks Balotelli To Decide On Future At Nice
A file photo of Mario Balotelli

 

Italy coach Roberto Mancini on Saturday urged Mario Balotelli to “wake up” before he throws his career away.

Balotelli’s ill-fated stint at hometown club Brescia appears to be coming to an end, with reports his contract will be terminated after repeated absences from training.

“I’ve told him a thousand times that he’s wasting a huge talent,” Mancini told Italian television.

“I have loved Mario very much since he was a boy and he has done extraordinary things. He has a crazy physique, speed, technique, and at 30 he is in the middle of his career.

“I hope that one day he will wake up and change.”

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Mancini recalled Balotelli to the Italy squad when he took over as coach in May 2018, having successfully worked with the forward at Manchester City and Inter Milan.

Balotelli, who has 36 caps for Azzurri but only one since 2014, joined Brescia last summer in the hope of winning a place in Mancini’s Euro 2020 squad, but has scored just five times in 19 matches for the club.

He made his debut with local team Lumezzane in Serie C as a 16-year-old, before moving to Serie A giants Inter in 2007, where he won three league titles and the Champions League.

He later had two spells at AC Milan and also played for Liverpool, Nice and Marseille.

AFP

Mancini ‘Relieved’ With Italy’s Euro 2020 Draw

Mancini 'Relieved' With Italy's Euro 2020 Draw
(FILES) This file photo of Italy coach Roberto Mancini was taken on March 8, 2018. ROBERT MICHAEL / AFP

 

Italy coach Roberto Mancini expressed his relief on Sunday after the former champions were given a favourable qualifying group for Euro 2020.

Mancini took over earlier this year after the four-time winners failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

“The goal was to avoid Germany and it went well,” said Mancini after Italy — who won their only European title 50 years ago — were drawn in Group J against Bosnia, Finland, Greece, Armenia and Liechtenstein.

“(It’s) good, but you have to win on the pitch,” continued the 54-year-old former Italy international who was present at the draw in Dublin along with the FIGC president Gabriele Gravina.

“Bosnia are an excellent team, with players we know and it will not be an easy game, but all the games must be played and won – on paper it is a good group, then it will depend on us.

“We have to qualify and remember all games must be played and won so we climb the FIFA ranking and go into the next World Cup draw in a stronger position.”

“Italy deserves to be on the top where it has always been.

“It might take a little while, but we are improving. The lads are playing well and on the right track.

“Having given enthusiasm back to the fans means that we are doing well and bodes well for the future.”

Italy have won three matches, drawn four and lost two since Mancini took over in May, but have been knocked out of the Nations League.

The Italian capital Rome will host quarter-final matches for Euro 2020 which will be played across 12 countries in Europe.

“We hope it can revive the enthusiasm of the whole football movement,” said Gravina, adding that Italy were hoping to host Euro 2028.

AFP

Mancini Takes Charge Of First Competitive Match As Italy Coach

Mancini Takes Charge Of First Competitive Match As Italy Coach
In this file photo taken on September 20, 2015, Roberto Mancini gestures during the Serie A football match between Chievo Verona and Inter Milan at the Bentegodi Stadium in Verona. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Roberto Mancini takes charge of his first competitive game as Italy coach in Friday’s Nations League opener against Poland in Bologna with the tough task of rekindling the nation’s love affair with their national side, decimated after the low of their World Cup fiasco.

The former Inter Milan and Manchester City boss was appointed in May after the four-time winners’ shock failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Mancini’s job will be to rebuild a new and vibrant side going into the European Championship in two years’ time and heading towards the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The Nations League — in which Italy will also be up against European champions Portugal in Group 3 — will have an impact on seeding for Euro 2020.

And the 53-year-old has insisted that a key to his strategy was to bring in new blood after the departure of several veterans, including iconic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, in the wake of Italy’s World Cup play-off defeat to Sweden last November.

Buffon’s exit has opened the way for 19-year-old AC Milan ‘keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. “We’re a great group, very young,” said Donnarumma at the team’s Coverciano training centre near Florence.

“We’re determined to bring Italian football back where it deserves to be. It’s our duty.”

Italy have plummeted to an all-time low of 21st in the FIFA rankings.

They were eliminated in the group stage at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, although they fared better at the European Championship, reaching the final in 2012 and the quarter-finals in 2016.

But Mancini said he wanted to “try something different” and focus on youth, with four uncapped players including Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo, who is 19 and has yet to start in a Serie A game.

– ‘Strong message’ –

Italy’s under-21 side reached the semi-finals of the 2017 UEFA Under-21 Championship, while the under-20s finished third at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017.

And Mancini called on the coaches of Serie A squads to give younger players more playing time to build on this potential.

“There have never been fewer Italians playing the game,” said Mancini. “Our use of Italians has never been so low, so we have to try something different. That’s why I’ve called up certain players,” he said.

“We’re trying to send a strong message from Coverciano. We’re convinced that those who play well at youth level can do so even at a higher level.

“At this historic moment there are not many Italian players playing on a consistent basis. Because of this, we have included many young players to increase the number of players so we can get to know them better.”

One of Mancini’s first decisions on being appointed last May was also to recall controversial striker Mario Balotelli, for the first time since the 2014 World Cup.

The Nice striker scored in his first game — a 2-1 friendly win over Saudi Arabia — but Mancini’s next two friendlies were a 3-1 defeat to World Cup winners France and 1-1 draw with the Netherlands.

As well as 28-year-old Balotelli, Italy’s strike options also include Lazio forward Ciro Immobile, 28, Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa, 20, and Juventus’s Federico Bernardeschi, 24.

Veteran Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, 34, returns to the squad for the first time since Italy’s World Cup play-off defeat.

Poland, unlike Italy, were at the World Cup but were eliminated in the group stage, and have attacking quality in Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski and Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik.

After Poland, Italy play Portugal — competing without superstar Cristiano Ronaldo — in Lisbon on September 10.

AFP

Italian Football Shakeup Offers Hope To Juve’s Rivals

 

Juventus’ players parade aboard an open-top bus to celebrate the “scudetto” with supporters in central Turin after the Italian Serie A last football match of the season, on May 19, 2018. Juventus won their 34th Serie A title and seventh in succession. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

The shakeup in Italian football promised by Roberto Mancini following the Azzurri’s World Cup flop has offered hope to Juventus’s rivals that it could impact the Serie A next season.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri met with club bosses on Monday to discuss his future contract and potential summer signings after claiming a fourth league and Cup doubles in as many years in Turin.

Napoli challenged Juventus for much of the season but the Turin giants again came out on top by a four-point margin to extend their dominance for a seventh consecutive season.

The 2017-2018 Serie A season was overshadowed by the drama playing out within a national side in tatters after their shock failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon, defender Andrea Barzagli and midfielder Daniele De Rossi —- three players who helped Italy to a fourth World Cup in 2006 —- announced they were retiring after a 1-0 aggregate loss to Sweden in a playoff last November.

Six months later Mancini, who left Zenit Saint Petersburg to take the job, was appointed national coach promising a “rebirth” in the national side, and to restore pride in the demoralised Azzurri.

It leads to hope of a shakeup in the league for next season with no Buffon in goal for the first time in 24 years.

Nice striker Mario Balotelli, who has been recalled and will play for the first time since Italy’s humiliating group-stage exit at 2014 World Cup, has said he would like to return to play club football in Italy this summer.

Five players from Serie A outsiders have been given a first call-up, including Torino’s Daniele Baselli, Crotone’s Rolando Mandragora, Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi and Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara.

Along with defenders Alessio Romagnoli and Daniele Rugani, midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini and strikers Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi are among the promising youngsters who are expected to put Italy back on the road to victory.

Lazio’s Ciro Immobile finished joint top of the Serie A scorers with 29 goals.

‘Change in mentality’

For Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri the Serie A challenge could end this year with his future in doubt, but Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco insists he wants to build on a season where his side finished third, albeit 18 points behind Juventus, and reached the Champions League semi-finals.

Juventus were eliminated by Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.

“We need to do lots of work and build on what we’ve done. Juventus have won a great deal and not just with Massimiliano Allegri,” said Di Francesco, who believes that Juventus’s rivals lack ambition.

“They have a mentality whereby winning becomes a habit. Roma have always been just slightly behind over the past few years.

“I don’t believe in teams that plump for one competition and that’s it.

“If we want to become a top side, we must always be competitive, rotating the squad where necessary and building on the change in mentality we’ve seen in everyone at Trigoria.

“It’s not easy to find the right remedy. I think Juventus set an example in the way they handle less-important games, with the same approach.”

Allegri’s first season in charge in 2014-2015 saw Juventus finish 17 points ahead of second-placed Roma, the following season Napoli were runners-up nine points adrift. The past two seasons the difference has been just four points on Roma and Napoli respectively.

“When I arrived, the team had finished 24 points off the top. Now, we are four points behind,” said Sarri. “We have not reached the target, but the journey has been fantastic.”

Three-time European champions Inter Milan will return to the Champions League – they were the last Italian team to win it in 2010.

“Qualifying for the Champions League obviously brings with it enthusiasm and economic advantages,” said Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio.

AFP

Balotelli Returns To Italy Squad As Mancini Plots Revival

Balotelli Returns As Mancini Plots Italy Revival
File photo: Mario Balotelli

 

New Italy coach Roberto Mancini on Saturday recalled Nice striker Mario Balotelli to the Azzurri fold for three upcoming friendlies as he begins the job of reviving Italian fortunes.

Mancini was appointed last Monday, six months after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked following the four-time world champions’ failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

The 53-year-old, who left Zenit Saint Petersburg to take the job, unveiled his first 30-man squad for matches against Saudi Arabia, France and the Netherlands.

Mancini takes charge of his first game against the Saudis in St Gallen, Switzerland on May 28.

As expected, the 27-year-old Balotelli was included for the first time in nearly four years.

Balotelli has scored 13 goals in 33 appearances for the Azzurri but has not played international football since Italy’s humiliating group-stage exit from the 2014 World Cup.

Balotelli was last called up by coach Antonio Conte in November 2014 but did not play because of injury.

He has now been given another chance by Mancini, who coached him at both Inter Milan and Manchester City.

Balotelli has resurrected his career since joining Nice in 2016 after less successful spells with AC Milan and Liverpool, scoring 26 goals in all competitions this season, without any of the bad-boy behaviour that previously dogged his career.

Italy are not spoilt for choice with forwards so Balotelli’s success with Nice could not be overlooked by Mancini.

As a youngster, Balotelli was part of the Inter side coached by Jose Mourinho that won the Champions League in 2010.

He also won three Serie A titles with Inter before switching to Manchester City and helping them claim the Premier League crown in 2012.

Meanwhile, Mancini’s squad was without goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon who this week confirmed he would not play again for the national side.

The presence of Buffon — who holds the record for Italy caps with 176 — proved controversial during friendlies in March with his critics wanting him to move over for a younger generation.

In his absence, Mancini has recalled Salvatore Sirigu, who has had a successful season since joining Torino, alongside AC Milan teenager Gianluigi Donnarumma and Genoa’s Mattia Perin.

Among the veterans there was no call-up for Roma captain Daniele De Rossi, with Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini absent through injury.

The captain’s armband is expected to go to AC Milan centre-back Leonardo Bonucci.

Five players have been given a first call-up — Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri, Torino midfielder Daniele Baselli, Crotone midfielder Rolando Mandragora, Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi and Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara.

Along with defenders Alessio Romagnoli and Daniele Rugani, midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini and strikers Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi are among the promising youngsters who are expected to put Italy back on the road to victory.

The squad will meet for the first time at the Italian national team’s training camp at Coverciano near Florence on May 23.

Italy squad

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino);

Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan), Mattia Caldara (Atalanta), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St Petersburg/RUS), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter Milan), Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus), Emerson Palmieri Dos Santos (Chelsea/ENG), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea/ENG)

Midfielders: Daniele Baselli (Torino), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Bryan Cristante (Atalanta), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Jorginho (Napoli), Rolando Mandragora (Crotone), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Nice/FRA), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Matteo Politano (Sassuolo), Simone Verdi (Bologna), Simone Zaza (Valencia/ESP)

AFP

Mancini Given ‘Dream’ Job Of Rebuilding Italy

 Italy Roberto Mancini                                                                                           GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP

 

Roberto Mancini will hold his first press conference on Tuesday a day after being handed his “dream” job as Italy head coach with the task of reviving Azzurri fortunes six months after their shock failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Italy have been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after the four-time world champions failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Mancini — former coach of Manchester City and Inter Milan — will meet the media for the first time as Italy boss at 12:00 (1000GMT) at the national team’s training centre at Coverciano near Florence.

“Roberto is the new coach of Italy, it’s done,” Italian FA commissioner Roberto Fabbricini declared after Mancini signed his new deal in Rome on Monday night.

“There is satisfaction, also on the part of Mancini – his enthusiasm was decisive in the choice.

“Roberto had a great desire to sit on the Azzurri bench, he proved that in a concrete way.”

The two-year contract reportedly worth two million euros ($2.3 million) a year will see Mancini lead Italy to Euro 2020 with the option to extend until June 2022 before the World Cup in Qatar.

The Italian federation had been looking for a prestigious coach to rebuild an Azzurri side decimated after their play-off defeat to Sweden in the San Siro last November.

The names of former Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte had also been touted, with Ancelotti reported to have said “no”.

Mancini had shown an early interest in taking over the national side and was ready to sever his lucrative contract with Zenit Saint Petersburg.

He will give up a reported 13 million euros in wages over the two remaining years on his Zenit contract to do national service.

After his three-year contract with the Russian club was officially terminated by mutual consent on Sunday, Mancini flew immediately to Rome on Monday morning declaring at the airport he was “happy to be back in Italy”.

He signed his new deal later in the day.

His task will be to rebuild and qualify Italy for the 2020 European Championships, with his first match in charge a friendly on May 28 against Saudi Arabia in Switzerland.

“It went the way we wanted, we are happy and Roberto is happy,” Fabbricini told journalists.

“We’ll explain everything about the contract tomorrow (Tuesday), he’s very happy and so are we.”

He will also prepare Italy for a friendly against France on June 1 in Turin which could be the final international game for goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon.

 Balotelli return 

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. Balotelli has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup.

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

He led Manchester City to their first English league title in 44 years in 2012, and won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan. He also won Italian Cups with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio.

Since leaving England in 2013, Mancini also managed Galatasaray, who he lead to a Turkish Cup title, and Inter Milan before joining Zenit in June 2017.

Zenit finished fifth in the Russian Premier League, failing to qualify for the Champions League but qualifying for the Europa League.

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

He never became a regular with Italy having a love-hate relationship with the national side during his 10-year international career, during which he won 36 caps and scored four goals.

He reached the semi-finals of Euro 1988, and was in the squad that finished third in the 1990 World Cup on home soil.

Luigi di Biagio had stepped up from the Under-21s to take interim charge of the senior national side but will now make way for Mancini.

AFP

Roberto Mancini Named Italy Head Coach

 

Roberto Mancini Named Italy Head Coach
Roberto Mancini   Photo: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Former Manchester City and Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini has been given the job of reviving the fortunes of Italy’s national team, the Italian football federation (FIGC) confirmed on Monday.

Italy have been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after the four-time world champions failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing a playoff to Sweden last November.

The 53-year-old’s task will be to rebuild the national side and to qualify for the 2020 European championship.

Italian FA commissioner Roberto Fabbricini said Mancini has been chosen because he “had a great desire to sit on the Italy bench and he proved it in a concrete way”.

“It went the way we wanted, we are happy and Roberto is happy,” Mancini told journalists after the contract was signed in Rome.

“Tomorrow will be the official presentation at Coverciano, it will be the formalisation of a long-standing discussion.

“We’ll explain everything about the contract tomorrow, hes very happy and so are we.”

Mancini arrived in Rome on Monday morning after leaving Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg at the weekend.

He will hold his first press conference on Tuesday at 12:00 (1000GMT) at the national team’s training centre at Coverciano near Florence.

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

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

Fabbricini added: “Tomorrow he will explain to you how he’ll organise his work, starting with these first (friendly) matches.”

The Italy squad will convene on May 22 ahead of friendlies against Saudi Arabia (May 28), France (June 1) and the Netherlands (June 4).

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.

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

He reached the semi-finals of Euro 1988, and was in the squad that finished third in the 1990 World Cup on home soil.

Luigi di Biagio had stepped up from the Under-21s to take interim charge of the senior national side but will now make way for Mancini.

Mancini To Sign Italy Contract Tuesday – Report

Mancini Reaches Agreement To Coach Italy
File photo: Roberto Mancini

 

Roberto Mancini has agreed to a deal with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to take over as national coach and will sign his contract on Tuesday, according to reports in Italy.

The 53-year-old former Manchester City manager quit as Zenit Saint Petersburg coach on Sunday, saying he now felt free to open talks with Italy.

Sky Sports Italia reported on Monday that Mancini has now agreed a two-year deal and will sign a contract in Rome on Tuesday.

Italy have been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing to Sweden in November.

Mancini, former Man City and Inter Milan coach, signed for three years with Zenit last summer and led the club to a fifth-place finish in the Russian league.

Italian Federation (FIGC) commissioner Roberto Fabbricini said last week that Mancini had agreed in principle to become the next manager of the four-time world champions, who failed to qualify for the World Cup after defeat to Sweden in a two-leg playoff.

Mancini led City to their first English league title in 44 years in 2012, and won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan. He also won Italian Cups with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio.

The Italian team will meet on May 22 to prepare three international friendlies against Saudi Arabia on May 28, France on June 1 and Holland on June 4.

AFP

Mancini Eyes Italy Job As Zenit Confirm Exit

Mancini Eyes Italy Job As Zenit Confirm Exit
(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 8, 2018, Saint Petersburg’s Italian head coach Roberto Mancini gestures during the Europa League Round of 16 first leg football match between Zenit Saint Petersburg and RB Leipzig in Leipzig. ROBERT MICHAEL / AFP

 

Roberto Mancini quit as Zenit Saint Petersburg coach on Sunday, saying he now felt free to open talks with Italy over the vacant national team job.

Mancini was said to have reached an agreement to become the next Italy coach last Tuesday, Gazzetta dello Sport reported, but he denied that on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the club confirmed Mancini would be leaving the Russian Premier League club.

“Zenit and Roberto Mancini have reached an agreement over early termination of his contract,” Zenit said in a statement.

“The contract was cancelled by mutual consent of the parties without any indemnity payments.”

Mancini, however, insisted that no arrangements concerning a possibility of his work with the Italian national side had been achieved yet.

“It would have been totally wrong to hold talks before my contract (with Zenit) had been cancelled,” he told the news conference Sunday after his last match as Zenit manager.

“I cannot confirm yet that I will be Italy’s next national head coach. But I will be able to hold talks about it with the Italian (football) federation pretty soon.”

Mancini added that he decided to part his ways with Zenit around three months ago.

“It was my personal initiative to leave Zenit, which is related to my family circumstances,” he said. “I made this decision around three months ago. And it wasn’t connected to any other club or the national team.

“I don’t have a feeling that I’ve made mistakes or my decisions (as Zenit manager) were wrong,” Mancini said. “If I was able to rewind time back I would have done everything the same way.”

Mancini, 53, who signed a three-year deal with Zenit last summer with an option of a two-year extension, led Zenit to a fifth-place finish in the Russian league, seven points behind the newly-crowned champions Lokomotiv Moscow.

Italian Federation (FIGC) commissioner Roberto Fabbricini said last week that Mancini, a former Man City and Inter Milan coach, had agreed in principle to become the next manager of four-time world champions Italy, who failed to qualify for the World Cup after defeat to Sweden in a two-leg playoff.

Earlier Mancini has said he would be proud to coach Italy, telling Italian radio: “If one day I got the chance to sit on the national team bench it would be something beautiful.”

During his 17-year coaching career, Mancini led City to their first English league title in 44 years in 2012 and won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan.

He also won Italian Cups with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio.

Italy have been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing to Sweden in November.

AFP

Mancini Reaches Agreement To Coach Italy

Mancini Reaches Agreement To Coach Italy
File photo: Roberto Mancini

 

Zenit Saint Petersburg manager Roberto Mancini has reached an agreement to become the next Italy coach after accepting a pay cut to take the job, according to reports on Tuesday.

Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the 53-year-old Italian has agreed a two-year deal worth two million euros ($2.3 million) a year which will be penned after the end of the Russian season which concludes next Sunday.

Zenit are fifth in the Russian Premier League, ten points behind already-crowned champions Lokomotiv Moscow with one match left.

The Russian club are reportedly reluctant to let Mancini leave and the Italian Football Federation FIGC do not want to pay any compensation to release him from his contract.

The former Italian international joined the Russian club last year on a three-year deal thought to be worth 4.5 million euros ($5.3 million) a year.

The annual budget for the future Italy coach and his backroom staff has been fixed at five million euros.

Italy have been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing to Sweden in November.

Italy’s under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio has been filling the position on an interim basis.

During his 17-year coaching career, Mancini led Manchester City to their first English league title in 44 years in 2012 and won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan. He also won Italian Cups with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio.

Meanwhile, Gazzetta also reported that Mancini wants to bring back Mario Balotelli into the national fold, and will ask goalkeeping legend, Gianluigi Buffon, to play against the Netherlands for a farewell appearance in Turin on June 4.

In-form Nice striker Balotelli, 27, has scored 13 goals in 33 appearances for Italy but has not been picked since the 2014 World Cup.

Former Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti turned down the opportunity to coach the four-time world champions saying he preferred to stay in club coaching.

“Mine was a choice, I want to coach a club,” Ancelotti told Milan TV. “It was a difficult decision, but I have to listen to what I feel.

“Roberto Mancini is an excellent coach, he is motivated and has international experience. If the next coach was him, I think the national team would be in good hands.”

AFP

Zenit St Petersburg Unveil Roberto Mancini As New Coach

Zenit St Petersburg Unveil Roberto Mancini As New CoachFormer Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini said the main goal of Zenit St Petersburg is to return to the Champions League.

Mancini said this on Tuesday at a news conference upon his arrival in St Petersburg, Russia.

The club appointed the 52-year-old as its new manager at the beginning of the month after failing to qualify for the championship for the second year in a row. Former coach Mircea Lucescu left as a result.

Zenit, which finished third in the Russian Premier League, said in a statement that they have signed the Italian manager on a three-year contract with the possibility of a two-year extension.

A source familiar with the contract told Reuters that Mancini would be making 4.5 million euros (£3.9 million) a year.

Mancini is one of the highest-profile foreign coaches to join the Russian Premier League in recent years.

Zenit, which is financed by Russian energy giant Gazprom, has used its deep pockets to attract pricey foreign managers in the past, including Dick Advocaat, Luciano Spalletti and Andre Villas-Boas.

Mancini has coached a number of elite sides including Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Manchester City.

Toure Set To Leave Man City In June

Toure
Yaya Toure (r) with Sergio Aguero

Manchester City’s midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure will leave the club at the end of the season having not been offered a new contract, his agent said on Monday.

The 32-year-old Ivory Coast international, who was the African Footballer of the Year four times in a row from 2011, joined Premier League City from Barcelona for 24 million pounds ($34.23 million) in July 2010.

Six years ago Toure was sold by Barca boss Pep Guardiola, who will replace Manuel Pellegrini as City’s coach when the Spaniard leaves Bayern Munich at the end of this season.

“We have waited too long. Manchester City promised a deal but nothing has materialised so Yaya will leave in June,” his agent Dimitri Seluk told Sky Sports television.

“Yaya is disappointed, of course, but he is a professional and he remains under contract so he will continue to do his best for City.”

Toure has been linked by the media with a move to Inter Milan who are coached by former City boss Roberto Mancini.

“Various offers have arrived for Yaya and we’re evaluating them,” Seluk said. “Inter? We’re definitely talking about a great club.

“Everyone knows about the relationship between Yaya and Mancini but… we haven’t made any decision yet. The Nerazzurri’s project is great and Inter is a fantastic club so it’s normal that they want a player of this level.”

Toure won the Premier League with City in 2012 and 2014, the FA Cup in 2011 and the League Cup in 2014 and 2016.

City visit Paris St Germain in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.