Roberto Mancini says that a possible move to the Saudi Arabia national team is not the reason for his sudden and widely criticized choice to leave Italy.
Mancini quit on Sunday, less than a month before Italy starts trying again to qualify for Euro 2024. According to reports, the Gulf country has offered him 25 million euros to train them.
But in talks with four Italian newspapers that came out on the same day (Tuesday), he said that he has not decided what he will do next.
“I’m a football boss, and if I get a good deal, I’ll take it. But I didn’t quit the national team because of that,” Mancini told Corriere Dello Sport.
“Italy was always my top choice. After many years, I’ve gotten a lot of offers that I’ll look into in the next few weeks, but there’s nothing solid right now.
“I’m a manager, and I can’t just stop, but it has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia.”
Mancini had a mixed five years as Italy’s coach, but the country’s win at Euro 2020 seemed to give it a new lease on life.
But the Azzurri didn’t make it to the World Cup last year because of a terrible play-off loss to North Macedonia, and the country no longer has the kind of world-class players that helped make Serie A the best football league in the world.
The news of Mancini’s departure came as a big surprise, since the 58-year-old had just been put in charge of the country’s Under-21 and Under-20 teams earlier this month.
He got a lot of flak for his choice, especially after it was said that he was going to move to Saudi Arabia for a lot of money.
But Mancini said he quit as coach of the Azzurri because he didn’t agree with Gabriele Gravina, the head of Italy’s football league, about his plans to change his teaching team.
“Has the head of the league ever replaced a manager’s teaching staff? “I should be the one to make changes,” he told La Repubblica.
“The truth is that we haven’t been on the same wavelength for a long time. But why should I switch up my staff? At that point, he should have fired me, but he could have kept me if he wanted to. he didn’t want to, though.”
Italy has Euro 2024 matches next month against North Macedonia and Ukraine, and the league is trying to find a coach who can make sure they don’t miss out on another big event.
Luciano Spalletti and Antonio Conte are the most likely candidates for the job. Spalletti won Serie A with Napoli last season, and Conte was Italy’s coach before.
Even though Spalletti left Napoli after they won their first league title since 1990, he is still on the team’s payroll until June of next year.
In that contract, there is a clause that says he can lead another team as long as he pays a reimbursement fee of three million euros, which goes down by 250,000 euros each month until the end of his contract.