‘The Italian Job‘ – Roberto Mancini
Legendary Player. Master Tactician. Style Icon.
Roberto Mancini had a successful playing career between 1981 – 2001. He spent the majority of his career playing for Sampdoria in his home country where he made 566 appearances in all competitions and scored 168 goals, not half bad for someone who played as a ‘second striker’. During his time at the Italian club he helped them lift 1x Seria trophy, 4x Coppa Italia trophies, 1x UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup & 1x Supercoppa Italiana.
His success at Sampdoria was sandwiched between a 1 season spell at Bologna and a 4 season spell at Lazio. The latter saw him win his second Scudetto and Cup Winners Cup titles, as well as two more Coppa Italias.
Life as a manager
Just before retiring as a player Mancini had a short loan spell at English club Leicester City in 2001. His time at The Foxes was cut short as he cited ‘personal reasons’ to cut his spell short and head back home. It later transpired he had accepted his first managers roll at Fiorentina. Mancini actually required special approval from the Italian F.A to be approved for the Fiorentina job as he had not yet received the relevant coaching badges.
After a troubling start in management (Due to Fiorentina’s financial problems), he was appointed manager of Lazio in 2002. This job was also hit by financial restrictions and ultimately saw star players Hernán Crespo and Alessandro Nesta sold while the rest of the squad had to take an 80% pay cut. Despite these troubles off the pitch Mancini made the best out of a poor situation and guided Lazio to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and a respectable 4th place in the league. The 2003-04 season saw Mancini lift his first trophy as manager as he guided Lazio to the Coppa Italia final where he saw off Juventus 4-2 over the two legs.
His success drew the attention of Italian giants Inter Milan and in July 2004 he was announced as their new manager. His appointment instantly saw success as he guided the club to their first domestic trophy in 10 years. In his 4 seasons at Inter Milan he won 3x league titles, made 4x Coppa Italia finals (winning 2 of them) and twice lifted the Supercoppa Italiana.
He was sacked in 2008 and spent 1 season out of employment, but during this spell he was linked with Chelsea and Notts County?!?
In December 2009 Mancini took over as Manchester City manager and saw out an up and down season which ultimately saw them finish 5th in the league. When you think of Mancini’s time at City the one thing everyone thinks of is that ‘AGUEROOOOO’ moment. In the 2011/12 season it went down to the final game of the season with both City & Manchester United battling it out for the title. The United game finished just before the City game and with them having beaten Sunderland 1-0 it looked game set and match. However, the iconic Aguero moment occurred in City’s games against QPR which saw Roberto Mancini’s side win 3-2 and ultimately won them the league trophy!
He was sacked at the end of the 2012/13 season despite having acheived the fourth-best win percentage in Premier League history with a 61% win percentage. This has only ever been beaten by José Mourinho, Alex Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti.
After his successful spell at City he spent time at Galatasaray, a second spell at Inter Milan & Zenit Saint Petersburg before being offered the Italy Job.
His Appointment As Italy’s Manager
Roberto Mancini took over as the Italian manager in 2018 and has been working to rebuild the squad into the world beaters they once were. Having taken over from a far from successful Gian Piero Ventura, Mancini had inherited an ageing squad who had 6 months prior failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup (The first they had failed to qualify for a World Cup in 60 years).
He initially signed a deal in 2018 that was incentive based and was originally only going to run until 2020. After successfully qualifying for Euro 2020 his contract was extended until 2022.
1 month before the EURO 2020 tournament kicked off the Italian F.A showed their confidence in Mancini and yet again extended his contract, but this time rewarded his successful lead up to the tournament with a 5 year extension until 2026.
Up until the time of writing Mancini brushed aside Turkey, Wales & Switzerland where they scored 7, conceded 0. Their fast paced, high pressure approach forces the opposition into mistakes and the Italians talented attacking players had no issues in capitalising.
Despite their domination in the group they had a slight blip when Austria took them to extra-time following a goalless 90 minutes. However, Mancini’s team showed good determination and fitness to ultimately see off their opponents with a 2-1 win. They looked comfortable most the game and their high-pressing was causing troubles for the Austria defence. However, despite their pressure it was actually Austria who found the back of the net first inside the 90minutes, only for VAR to adjudge Arnautovic offside.
Italy will face their toughest opponents tonight as they compete against Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side, for a place in the semi-finals. Belgium also won all 3 of their group stage games and proved their worth when they knocked out current European Champions, Belgium, in the round of 16. It was a Thorgan Hazard wondergoal that was the decider between the two teams in a game that was very much end to end.
We expect the quarter-final between Italy and Belgium to be a tight game where the teams defences will be the key to progressing. There is also no arguing there is some real attacking talent in both teams with both Lukaku & Immobile looking set to lead their respective attacking lines! Belgium are likely to be missing both Kevin De Bruyne and captain Eden Hazard set to miss the crucial fixture!
All we know is it will be a great match up with some of the worlds greatest players on show! Let us know who you think will be making it to the semi-final by tweeting us or leaving a comment on one of our Instagram posts