- Mancini named Saudi Arabia head coach
- Will be presented in Riyadh on Monday
- First match will be against Costa Rica at St. James' Park
WHAT HAPPENED? Just over two weeks after resigning as Italy's head coach, Mancini has officially been appointed as the new manager of the Saudi Arabia national team. The Italian will be unveiled in front of supporters in a glitzy presentation ceremony on Monday in Riyadh, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I am immensely honoured to be offered the position as Saudi Arabia national team manager," Mancini said after being confirmed in his new role. "I believe this is a great opportunity for me, to experience football in a new country, especially with the growing popularity of football in Asia. I firmly believe that the passionate footballing culture of Saudi Arabia and the intrinsic quality of Saudi players are crucial ingredients for success. The presence of top players in the Saudi Pro League indicates the potential for growth in the national football scene.
“The whole world recognises the enormous potential of the Saudi Arabia national team during their outstanding performance at the World Cup. The scenes of the fans following that victory was immense. They left their mark on the global stage, filling Saudi Arabian football fans with immense pride and accelerating the nation’s footballing ambitions. We have the potential to improve further. The squad is strong with talented players. I believe we have what it takes to elevate our game if we work hard.”
شريطٌ من الذكريات تبدأ بعده رحلة كتابة التاريخ مع الأخضر 🇸🇦🦅 pic.twitter.com/AhJzClKsyf— المنتخب السعودي (@SaudiNT) August 27, 2023
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mancini, who guided Italy to a brilliant Euro 2020 triumph two years back, will reportedly earn €25m per year after signing a four-year deal as Saudi Arabia's new coach. His first game in charge will be against Costa Rica in an international friendly on September 8 at Newcastle United's home ground, St. James' Park.
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WHAT NEXT FOR SAUDI ARABIA? The Green Falcons are set to face Costa Rica and South Korea on September 8 and 12 respectively in friendly matches during the upcoming international break. Mancini's first major challenge will be at the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, where Saudi will face either Cambodia or Pakistan in their opening group stage match.