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Saudi Arabia name Mancini as new national team coach



Former Italy boss Roberto Mancini said he aims to make history after being named the new head coach of the Saudi Arabia national team by the country’s football federation (SAFF) on Sunday.

The SAFF gave no further details but Italian media reported Mancini would leave for Riyadh on Monday to attend a presentation event and sign a contract until 2027 worth 25 million euros ($27 million) net per year. He will make his debut on the bench on Sept. 8 against Costa Rica.

“I made history in Europe, now is time to make history with Saudi,” Mancini said in a video posted on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Former Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti replaced Mancini as Italy boss after he resigned on Aug. 13, ending a five-year spell in charge of the national team in which they won the European Championship but missed out on qualification for the World Cup.

Frenchman Herve Renard stepped down as Saudi Arabia’s coach in March. The team will attempt to win their fourth Asian Cup title at the continental championship to be held in Qatar early next year.


Saudi Arabia were knocked out in the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar last year but only after pulling off one of the biggest shocks in the tournament’s history when they beat eventual champions Argentina in their first game.

The country is heavily investing in its top flight soccer league.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced a Sports Clubs Investment and Privatisation Project involving league champions Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, with a host of top players moving to the league.




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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