‘Italian mastermind’ Mancini takes Saudi reins…to face South Korea in September

Bringing in a world-class coach.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) announced on Monday the appointment of Roberto Mancini (59-Italy) as head coach of the national soccer team. The contract is for four years, until 2027, and the terms of the contract, including salary, were not disclosed, but are reportedly worth up to 30 million euros (about $43 billion).

Mancini is a renowned Italian coach. His coaching career includes stints at Fiorentina and Lazio (both in Italy), where he led Inter Milan to three consecutive league titles (2005-2006, 2006-2007, and 2007-2008 seasons). At Manchester City (England), he coached them to the English Premier League (EPL) title in the 2011-2012 season. Since 2018, he has been in charge of his home country’s national team, leading them to the top of Euro 2020 (European Football Championship). He’s won a lot of titles.

He stepped down as Italy coach on Nov. 13 and took over the Saudi job just two weeks later. This will be his first time in Asia. “The goal is to reach the top of the Asian Cup after 27 years,” he said. “We know there are strong teams in Asia like South Korea, Japan and Australia. We have four months before the tournament, so we will prepare well.” Saudi Arabia has won the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup on three occasions, but their last title came in 1996 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in soccer. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr), Karim Benzema (Al Ittihad), and Neymar (Al Hilal) have all headed to the kingdom. Not only players past their prime, but also younger players are playing in Saudi Arabia with the help of ‘oil money’. The kingdom is also aiming to enter the UEFA Champions League. Saudi Arabia is trying to become a soccer center.

“To get good players, you need to invest in them,” Mancini said, adding that he was confident that the world-class players playing in the Saudi league would help the Saudi players grow.메이저놀이터

He will make his debut in a September A match. They will face Costa Rica on Sept. 9, followed by Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korea on Sept. 13. The match will be played at St. James’ Park, the home of Newcastle (England).

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