Mancini to leave Zenit ahead of anticipated Italy appointment

Mancini to leave Zenit ahead of anticipated Italy appointment”

Zenit St Petersburg have announced that head coach Roberto Mancini will be leaving the club.

Russian side Zenit St Petersburg terminated manager Roberto Mancini's contract by mutual consent on Sunday after an Italian soccer official said the 53-year-old was willing to become the country's next national coach.

However, the club said the contract, which will come to an end on Monday, had been severed through mutual consent and without any compensation payable. Zenit are now fifth in the Russian Premier League with one game remaining.

Mancini is thought to have become the Italian Football Federation's preferred candidate after being turned down by Carlo Ancelotti.

Such a deal will only serve to create more uncertainty over the future of Antonio Conte, who is expected to leave Chelsea this summer and had been keen to reprise his role as Italy manager after leading them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, according to FIGC commissioner Roberto Fabbricini.

Mancini meanwhile said he would be proud to coach Italy, telling Italian radio: "If one day I got the chance to sit on the national team bench it would be something lovely".

Mancini, who had been heavily linked with the job, will put pen to paper on a €2m-a-year contract, which is only a small fraction of what he was earning as manager of the Russian club.

Claudio Ranieri, now with French club Nantes, had also previously been mentioned in connection with the job.

He will meet his team on May 22 at Italy's Coverciano training centre to prepare for his first game in charge against Saudi Arabia in San Gallo on May 28.

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