Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Italian coach Roberto Mancini, the newly appointed head coach of the Saudi Arabian national team, has denied that his resignation from coaching the Italian national team was due to his contract with the Saudi team.
Mancini said in a post on his official Instagram account that his first contact with Saudi officials came on Aug. 18, five days after he submitted his resignation from coaching the Italian national team.
In his post, Mancini addressed his supporters: “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 challenging hours I’ve experienced.
“I still hold onto the affectionate expressions and words of support from you, which will inspire me on my journey to face the new challenges that await me.”
The 58-year-old Italian coach had abruptly resigned from leading his national team on Aug. 13.
Later, on the 27th of the same month, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) announced that they had secured his signature to lead the Saudi national team until 2027.
During his official press conference as the new coach of the Saudi national team, Mancini expressed his pride in coaching the Saudi team.
He stated that he did not hesitate to accept the offer, highlighting the presence of international stars in the Saudi league as a contributing factor to the development of Saudi players’ potential.
He promised to do his best to make the Saudi team perform exceptionally well in upcoming tournaments.
Mancini’s first appearance as the new coach on the Saudi sidelines will be during a friendly match against Costa Rica in Newcastle, England on Sept. 8. Following that, the Saudi national team will play another friendly match against South Korea at the same venue.
Mancini’s and his team’s first official task will be leading the Saudi national team in the qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Asia, starting in November. Saudi Arabia will face Jordan in Amman as part of Group 7.
The following challenge for Mancini and his team will be guiding the Saudi Falcons in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar early next year. The draw placed Saudi Arabia in Group 6 alongside Oman, Kyrgyzstan, and Thailand.