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Mancini set to be named Saudi Arabia coach: Italian media

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Roberto Mancini will be named Saudi Arabia coach on Monday after quitting the Italy job earlier this month, according to Italian media reports on Sunday.

Newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport reported that Mancini has signed a four-year contract with the Gulf state with an annual salary of 25 million euros ($27 million) and will be presented to media on Monday.

Saudi Arabia, which beat eventual champion Argentina at last year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, has been without a national team coach since Herve Renard left to take charge of France’s women’s team.

The oil-rich nation has made waves this summer by buying a host of players from European clubs for teams in its Saudi Pro League.

Brazil star Neymar was the latest in a growing list of big names to be attracted by the huge sums offered by the Saudis after Cristiano Ronaldo kicked off the trend by moving to Al Nassr in January.

Neymar left Paris Saint-Germain for Al-Hilal this month, with a source close to the negotiations telling AFP that he will earn 100 million euros a season.

Mancini’s resignation from the Italy job came as a major shock, as earlier this month the 58-year-old had been handed responsibility for the country’s Under-21 and Under-20 teams.

He was heavily criticised for his decision especially following early reports that he was set to accept a mega-money move to Saudi, which he denied was the reason behind his resignation.

Mancini, who was replaced by former Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti, had a mixed time in his five years as Italy coach, victory at Euro 2020 seeming to revitalise a troubled football nation.

But the Azzurri failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup following a disastrous play-off defeat to North Macedonia, the second straight time they missed the world’s biggest football tournament.

Mancini won the 1991 Serie A title and four Italian Cups with long-time club Sampdoria, where he starred in attack alongside recently-deceased Gianluca Vialli.

Once becoming a coach he won three more ‘Scudetti’ at Inter Milan – one assigned to the club in the aftermath of the ‘Calciopoli’ match-fixing scandal, and then won the Premier League with Manchester City in 2012.

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