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  • Ahmed Saleh

Italian coach Mancini denies Saudi contract influenced resignation

RIYADH — Roberto Mancini, the head coach of the Italian national team, has refuted claims that his contract with the Saudi team was the driving force behind his decision to step down as manager. Mancini was recently named the head coach of the Saudi national team.

Five days after he handed in his resignation as head coach of the Italian national team, on August 18, Mancini, according to a post on his official Instagram account, made his first contact with Saudi authorities.

"Dear fans, I want to thank all of you for the tremendous support you always surround me with, especially in the past few days and trying hours I've experienced," Mancini wrote in his letter to his followers.

I'm still clinging to your kind words and gestures of support, and I know they'll motivate me to take on the upcoming challenges.

On August 13, the 58-year-old Italian coach abruptly announced his resignation as head coach of his country.

Later, on July 27, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) declared that they had obtained his signature to name him as the team's manager until the year 2027.

Mancini stated his satisfaction with leading the Saudi team during his first press conference as the nation's new head coach.

He emphasized that the presence of international talents in the Saudi League was a factor in his decision to accept the offer and that it helped Saudi players reach their full potential.

He committed to doing everything in his power to ensure that the Saudi team excels in subsequent competitions.

On September 8, a friendly match between Saudi Arabia and Costa Rica will take place in Newcastle, England, and Mancini will make his debut as the team's new head coach there. The Saudi national squad will thereafter take the field against South Korea in another friendly at the same location.

Leading the Saudi national squad in the qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Asia, which begin in November, will be Mancini and his group's first official duty. In Group 7, Saudi Arabia will take on Jordan in Amman.

Leading the Saudi Falcons in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar early next year will be Mancini and his team's next challenge. Saudi Arabia was placed in Group 6 along with Oman, Kyrgyzstan, and Thailand by the draw.

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