Mancini and ‘Arab sirens’: Italy appalled by ‘immoral’ Saudi bid

Mancini and “Arab Sirens”
Italy appalled at ‘immoral’ Saudi bid

Roberto Mancini has had to take heavy criticism after his resignation as Italy national coach. It seems like less than a year before the European Championships in Germany, an entire nation has been shaken. Apparently, Saudi Arabia lured Mancini with a 120 million offer.

It’s still only speculation, but for Italy’s gazettes it is clear: The “immoral offer” of 120 million euros for a three-year contract as national coach of Saudi Arabia is said to have persuaded Roberto Mancini to resign as coach of the Azzurri on Sunday. Less than a year before the European Championships in Germany (June 14 to July 14, 2024), Italy is without a coach – the country of the European Championship title defender and four-time world champion is appalled.

Milan’s “Corriere dello Sera” put it like this: “After five wonderful and tragic years, years full of tension and tears, Roberto Mancini’s empire is coming to an end. The Arab sirens are too tempting.” The “Gazzetta dello Sport” wrote: “Italian football is experiencing an apocalypse, even worse than those of recent years that have led to missing the last two World Cups.”

Above all, the short-term nature of the decision surprised everyone on the Apennines. “Mancini resigned two weeks before the two European Championship qualifiers. Mancini was aware that he should have worked miracles to regain the credibility he had lost after failing to reach the 2022 World Cup,” commented the “Corriere dello Sport”. .

“Sad picture for our football”

The 58-year-old Mancini had been the head coach for the Italian association FIGC since 2018. Wembley’s 2021 EURO triumph was closely linked to his name, even if he was credited with the poor showing in qualifying for the World Cup finals in Qatar a year later.

In any case, the million-dollar offer is said to have been on the table and influenced Mancini towards resignation, the Italian media reported unanimously. The former world-class player could make his international debut against South Korea in September under coach Jürgen Klinsmann. “While Mancini was agreeing a salary increase with the Italian Football Association, he was negotiating with the Saudi Arabian billionaires. If this were to be confirmed, it would be a very sad picture for our football,” Gazzetta said.

There was also criticism from former Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi. “I was very surprised by Mancini’s resignation. The world of football is very much influenced by money. Obviously Mancini didn’t feel comfortable in his role as coach of the national team anymore,” Sacchi mused.

Former Naples coach Luciano Spalletti is now under discussion as a possible successor to Mancini. With the 64-year-old, Naples conquered the first Scudetto in 33 years this year. After winning the title, Spalletti emphasized that he wanted to take a break. Now could be the big hour for him. However, he has to compete with other competitors. The ex-coach of the Italian selection as well as Juventus Turin and Chelsea FC, Antonio Conte, is also being discussed as Mancini’s successor. The 2006 World Champion and ex-Benevento Calcio coach Fabio Cannavaro is also given a few chances.

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