Sunday May 13 2018
Mancini: ‘Now I can negotiate'

Roberto Mancini knew he was leaving Zenit St Petersburg three months ago but refuses to confirm he is taking over as Italy boss.

The former Inter, Manchester Cityand Galatasaray boss signed off from his tenure at the Russian club today with a 6-0 home win over SKA Khabarovsk.

Speculation has been rife in recent weeks that Mancini would succeed Giampiero Ventura as Azzurri Coach, and it was officially confirmed this morning that he had mutually agreed to terminate his contract.

“I would like to emphasise once again that this was exclusively my initiative,” Mancini, whose team have finished fifth in the Russian League, said when asked how long he has known he would be leaving. 

“I've been thinking about it for a long time. The decision was made largely for family reasons. This decision was not easy. The players did not know about this three months ago. 

“Perhaps they began to think about it over the last ten days, when the media started to talk about my departure. But they heard from me about my leaving the club this morning.” 

When pressed about his future, Mancini refused to confirm he would be taking the Italy job despite all signs appearing to point in that direction.

He did, however, admit that he would now be able to ‘enter into negotiations’ with the FIGC.

“At the moment there are absolutely no agreements with the Italian team. It would be wrong to negotiate until my contract here is over, as we announced today. 

“It would be against the rules. I cannot confirm that I will take the post of head coach of the Italian team. 

“In many interviews I have said that it would be of interest to me. Now that all the contractual issues have been settled, I can enter into negotiations with the Italian team.” 

Former Torino boss Sinisa Mihajlovic has been linked with potentially replacing Mancini at Zenit, but the outgoing Coach would not comment on his possible successors.

“I do not know how to answer. I have no relation to any of those candidates for the Zenit job. I will not give any advice and I have not communicated with anyone.” 

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