May 1, 2018 11:26:31 pm
The Italian football federation is in talks with Roberto Mancini about taking over the Azzurri’s vacant coaching job.
Federation commissioner Roberto Fabbricini told the ANSA news agency that after a meeting Monday, Mancini said he was “open to leaving his job with Zenit St. Petersburg to become head coach of the national team.”
Fabbricini added that “nothing is decided” but that the two sides agreed to meet again May 13, once the Russian season has ended, “to discuss figures and details.”
Under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio guided Italy on an interim basis in friendlies last month but the team has not had a full-time coach since November when Gian Piero Ventura was fired after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
Mancini, a former Italy player, has coached Fiorentina, Lazio, Inter Milan, Manchester City, and Galatasaray to titles. If Mancini does take the job, it could signal a return to the national team for Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli, who has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, featured under Mancini at both Inter and City. Negotiations with Mancini picked up after Carlo Ancelotti reportedly turned down the job.
Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri had been a secondary candidate. The Italian federation has said it will announce a coach by May 20.
The Azzurri have friendlies scheduled with Saudi Arabia on May 28, France on June 1 and the Netherlands on June 4.
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