Ex-Italy coach Roberto Mancini named new Saudi Arabia manager

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Just a fortnight after his departure from the helm of the Italian national team, Roberto Mancini has swiftly transitioned into his new role as the head coach of Saudi Arabia’s football squad.

The 58-year-old tactician, celebrated for steering Italy to a resounding victory in Euro 2020 by clinching a hard-fought win against England via a penalty shootout at Wembley Stadium, is now set to embark on a fresh chapter in his illustrious managerial career.

Under Mancini’s guidance, the Italian squad embarked on a remarkable 37-game unbeaten streak, etching their names into the annals of sports history with a world-record feat. Yet, despite this unprecedented achievement, the team’s aspirations were quelled as they failed to secure a berth in the much-anticipated 2022 World Cup.

Eager to embrace his new undertaking, Mancini has put pen to paper on a contract that binds him to the Saudi Arabian team until the year 2027. His inaugural challenge at the helm of the Saudi squad is set to unfold on the 8th of September, as his charges lock horns with Costa Rica in a match slated to take place at St James’ Park in Newcastle.

"This presents an exciting prospect for me - an opportunity to immerse myself in the realm of football within a novel nation, particularly given the surging popularity of the sport across the Asian continent," remarked Mancini, exuding enthusiasm for the journey ahead. He further emphasised the potential for expansion within Saudi Arabia’s national football domain, buoyed by the presence of prominent players within the Saudi Pro League.

At the Qatar World Cup, Saudi Arabia orchestrated a startling upset under the stewardship of former head coach Herve Renard. They triumphed over the eventual champions, Argentina, securing a stunning 2-1 win. However, despite this coup, the Saudi team found themselves stymied within the group stages of the tournament.

Mancini, who previously guided Manchester City to their maiden Premier League title in 2012, brings with him a wealth of managerial experience garnered through his tenures at clubs such as Fiorentina, Lazio, Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Zenit St Petersburg.

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