January 31, 2023

Roberto Mancini reflecting on Italy national team future

Losing out on going to a FIFA World Cup is, for most Italian football coaches, a sackable offence. Roberto Mancini, though, has plenty of cache with the nation and the federation; he did win the UEFA European Championships, after all. However, despite staying around after the World Cup failure, Mancini has now been linked with a move out of the club.

Paris Saint-Germain are being linked, and reports suggest that Mancini is considering leaving the Azzurri job. This comes after a 3-0 dismantling by Argentina, something that was not expected by Mancini or his staff. It came to show that the Euros winning team has reached the end of a cycle, and a new cycle begins. Despite being interested in being part of that rebuild, Mancini, it is reported, is somewhat daunted by the task involved.

Also, a desire to return to club football has also been noted – Mancini, it is believed, wants more day-to-day involvement. The national team cannot offer this, and thus an exit to move to the club game would make sense. With little opportunity in Italian football, a move either to England or France would make some sense.

With a strong Italian contingent at the club, PSG would make a lot of sense. A tactically versatile coach with an eye for what works for his current setup, Mancini is also regarded as a ‘players coach’ and could handle the big egos in Paris.

However, an exit from the national team would be seen as a major shock after he reaffirmed his commitment in the wake of missing out on the FIFA World Cup. Missing out in 2018 and then 2022 was never part of the plan; regardless of the Euros win, it was a major blow to the momentum that Italy enjoyed.

Mancini decision expected soon

Part of the decision comes from a lack of young Italian talent getting game time in the domestic league. Many of the Italian players who play regularly are veterans and thus known quantities to Mancini. Others, like Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, are at the end or near the end of their cycle with the national team. Finding replacements for such legends, though, is proving troublesome.

Mancini would be unhappy to leave due to having a deal until 2026, but it is believed he might feel as if his hands are tied. The regression since the Euros win has been alarming, and the coach appears to see himself as part of the problem as opposed to the solution.

Losing a coach that is as revered as Mancini would be a surprise, but it would also be somewhat expected in some ways. After the failure to get to the World Cup and the general regression ever since, there might not be a chance for Mancini to stick around. Perhaps leaving now would be a better chance to leave with credit in the bank as opposed to eventually leaving through the back door if the rebuild is a failure.