Mancini to sign Italy contract today

Roberto Mancini

Roberto Mancini has been handed the daunting task of rebuilding Italy

"It's a hard time and there's a lot to do", Mancini said at the national team's training centre in Florence. I think that it's the right moment for me.

The 27-year-old has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup, but has rebuilt his reputation with Nice in Ligue 1 after hard spells with Liverpool and AC Milan.

The 53-year-old has been handed the daunting task of lifting Italy out of the doldrums after their failure to qualify for this year's World Cup, the first time they will miss the tournament in 60 years.

After "Carlito" ruled himself out, former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini suddenly emerged as the favourite, a man who could easily fulfill the criteria listed above. If successful, it will be automatically extended until June 2022, ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

The Italian federation had been looking for a prestigious coach to rebuild an Azzurri side decimated after their play-off defeat to Sweden in the San Siro last November.

Sky Sports Italia reported yesterday that Mancini has now agreed a two-year deal and will sign a contract in Rome today.

"Mancini gave up significant financial opportunities to do so".

Mancini's first match in charge will be a friendly against Saudi Arabia on May 28 before matches with France and Holland on June 1 and June 4.

The question on everyone's lips, however, was whether or not Mancini would seek a reunion with his former player Mario Balotelli, the striker ignored by the national team up until now, despite having shown excellent form for Nice.

Balotelli has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup. It's a hard time and there's a lot to do. "I will certainly speak with Balotelli also".

"There are a lot of players in Italy, even in hard times we can find players with quality".

He also said he would talk to recently retired Italy great Andrea Pirlo about joining his coaching setup.

As head coach Italian since 2001, has won 13 titles, including victories in Serie A and the English Premier League.

But this will be his first worldwide coaching job. "It's not an easy challenge, but nothing is easy".

He reached the semi-finals of Euro 1988, and was in the squad that finished 3rd in the 1990 World Cup on home soil.

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