Roberto Mancini plans Balotelli return to Italy squad

Elias Hubbard
May 15, 2018

"It's a hard period and much needs to be done", said Mancini, who left his post at Zenit by mutual consent with the Russian club to take over Italy.

The 53-year-old former Manchester City and Inter Milan manager, who left Zenit Saint Petersburg at the weekend, will be officially unveiled on Tuesday.

Ranked 20th in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, Italy will look to return to the big stage by securing qualification for UEFA EURO 2020.

It is for the first time Italy failed to qualify for the tournament since 1958.

Roberto Mancini aims to rebuild the Italian national team that failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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

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

Mancini was then free to sign a deal with the Azzurri, one that has quite clearly filled the boss with pride.

Gianluigi Buffon in tears after Italy's World Cup elimination
Gianluigi Buffon in tears after Italy's World Cup elimination

"There are a lot of players in Italy, even in hard times we can find players with quality". We are happy, Roberto is happy.

Italy's first match under their new coach will be a friendly against Saudi Arabia on May 28, followed by further exhibition games against France and Netherlands.

He will also prepare Italy for a friendly against France on June 1 in Turin which could be the final global game for goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon. He also won Italian Cups with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio.

As head coach Italian since 2001, has won 13 titles, including victories in Serie A and the English Premier League.

Since leaving England in 2013, Mancini coached Galatasaray, whom he lead to a Turkish Cup success, and returned to Inter before joining Zenit last June.

Mancini, a former Lazio and Sampdoria forward, never became a regular during a love-hate relationship with Italy over a 10-year global career that gleaned just four goals in 36 caps.

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

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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