Report: Mancini reaches agreement to coach Italy
Zenit Saint Petersburg manager Roberto Mancini has reached agreement to become the next Italy coach after accepting a pay cut to take the job, according to reports yesterday.
Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the 53-year-old has agreed a 2-year deal worth 2 million euros (US$2.3 million) a year which will be penned after the end of the Russian season which ends next Sunday.
Zenit is fifth in the Russian Premier League, 10 points behind already-crowned Lokomotiv Moscow with 1 match left.
The Russian club is reportedly reluctant to let Mancini leave and the Italian Football Federation does not want to pay any compensation to release him from his contract.
The former Italy international joined the Russian club last year on a 3-year deal thought to be worth 4.5 million euros a year. The annual budget for the future Italy coach and his backroom staff has been fixed at 5 million euros.
Italy has been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after it failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing to Sweden in November. 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 its first English league title in 44 years in 2012, and won 3 Serie A titles with Inter Milan.
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 4-time world champion saying he preferred to stay in club coaching.
“Mine was a choice, I want to coach a club,” Ancelotti told Milan TV. “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.”