After controversially leaving his position as Italy’s head coach earlier this month, Roberto Mancini was announced as the new head coach of the Saudi Arabian national team on Sunday.
Since Herve Renard quit to coach France’s women’s team, the Saudis, who defeated eventual winners Argentina at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, have been without a coach.
Despite winning the Euro 2020 championship under Mancini’s leadership, Italy missed out on the 2014 World Cup.
Mancini, who has agreed to a four-year deal, said: “I am immensely honored to be offered the position as Saudi Arabia national team manager.”
“With football’s rising popularity in Asia, I think this is a fantastic opportunity for me to experience football in a new country.”
It was also said that “the presence of top players in the Saudi Pro League indicates the potential for growth in the national football scene.”
The greatest crude oil exporter in the world, Saudi Arabia, has made headlines this summer by purchasing a number of players from European clubs for teams in the Saudi Pro League.
Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr in January, an increasing number of well-known athletes have been drawn to the enormous amounts provided by the Saudis. Neymar of Brazil is the most recent.
The 27 million euro ($25 million) yearly pay for Mancini’s deal was revealed by the newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport on Sunday.
His salary was not mentioned in the federation’s announcement.
“The appointment confirms the new era of growth for the Saudi Arabian national team and marks a new milestone in Mancini’s distinguished career,” the Saudi federation stated in a statement announcing Mancini’s hiring.
Mancini was scheduled to arrive in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, on Monday to make a media introduction.
On September 8, an international exhibition game versus Costa Rica will be played at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, which is owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
The English city will host a second friendly match against South Korea on September 12.
Mancini, wearing a white shirt and a green tie, said in a video released to the Green Falcons account on X, previously Twitter, “I made history in Europe, now it’s time to make history with Saudi.”