“I’m not a magician, but I want to win something important”

It’s the day of Roberto Mancini’s presentation in Riyadh as the new coach of the Saudi Arabian national team. The appointment in a hotel in the capital. His contract runs for almost three and a half years, e.g a total signing of around 90 million euros, 25 million per season.

In a video released by Saudi TV channel Al Ekhbariya’s “X” account, the coach can be seen being greeted with a bouquet of flowers at the airport. “Thank you to the President who chose me to coach Saudi Arabia. I’m very proud to take on this role here,” said Mancini. The first game of the Green Falcons, as the Saudi Arabian national team is known, is a friendly against Costa Rica on September 8th.

“When I started with Italy, I did it three days before my first game against Saudi Arabia,” recalls the new coach. “The next ten days will be very important, but we’ve already made it. I started watching a lot of videos about the team, about the players. We have four friendlies before we start qualifying for the World Cup, we have to work hard but we have enough time.”

And of his new role, Mancini says: “We started talking in mid-August, some of my staff are still having issues that are being resolved in Italy before we get here, but we’re already enough to start work and we’re proud to be here. If we work hard and well, we can help the team attack better and score a lot of goals.”

So a commitment, almost in response to those who identify Saudi football with big stars on the decline: “We believe in talent, there are a lot of good players in the under-21 and youth teams, we want to invest in them for the future.” .


Roberto Mancini, new coach of the Saudi Arabian national team

In January, Saudi Arabia will take part in the Asian Cup in Qatar. “Our goal is to try and win it since it’s been missing for 27 years – emphasizes Mancini -. We have four months ahead of us, with four friendlies and two World Cup qualifiers, then another 20 days of preparation. There are many top teams in Asia like Japan, Australia and Korea but we will go there to win. how will we play First of all, we have to get to know the players and their qualities well, then we choose the formation. But we have to play all the games to win. The players have improved a lot here in the last ten years, we have a good team, one of the best in Asia.”

Roberto Mancini, new coach of the Saudi Arabian national teamhandle

Roberto Mancini, new coach of the Saudi Arabian national team

There are several points of contact between Mancini and Saudi Arabia. In Qatar, the Green Falcons saved Italy’s unbeaten record by beating Argentina, with 37 games in a row without a single loss. AND on the arrival of Ronaldo, Benzema and Neymar in the Saudi championshipMancini is optimistic: “All these stars can improve Saudi players, the same thing happened in Italy many years ago when the great foreign players came to us. And then even in Italy there were few players to choose from and sometimes we invested in players who could do that.” “I’ve never played in Serie A,” he says, referring to Zaniolo and Pafundi, for example.

Mancini concludes with a promise to the fans: “I’m not a magician but I can tell all the fans that we will work hard because we also want to win something important with Saudi Arabia.”

Roberto Mancini, new coach of the Saudi Arabian national team@FWC2030

Roberto Mancini, new coach of the Saudi Arabian national team

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