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 By Ben Gladwell

Roberto Mancini interested in Italy job

Roberto Mancini has thrown his hat into the ring to succeed Cesare Prandelli as coach of Italy, while Francesco Guidolin has also been backed to fill the vacancy.

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Former Lazio, Inter Milan, Manchester City and Galatasaray coach Mancini is currently out of work after leaving the Turkish club last month.

His name has been mentioned as one of the top candidates to lead Italy to Euro 2016, and he has now affirmed his desire to coach the Azzurri following the resignation of Prandelli after the team's World Cup exit.

"Of course I'd like to coach a national team," he told Corriere dello Sport. "I think it's one of the objectives every coach has. Of course I would be honoured -- I've always been proud of my origins when I've been abroad." 

Mancini, who won 31 senior caps for his country, believes that whoever gets the job should be an Italian.

"It's one of the barriers that we've not yet demolished, having a foreign national team coach," he said. "But the reason is obvious: Italian coaches are the best in the world. We're the best prepared and there's no need to search for talented players abroad like at club level."

Mancini is not the only candidate for a job the Italian Football Association (FIGC) hopes to fill by the middle of next month, however. Guidolin, who this summer moved into upstairs role at Udinese after four years in charge of the Zebrette is another contender, and has former Italy striker Antonio Di Natale's seal of approval.

"After 30 years coaching, he would be a serious contender for the national team," Di Natale told reporters at Udinese's first day of preseason training on Monday. "He's got lots of values and he would deserve it. He's ready for Italy and I'd be delighted if the FA would choose him."

Whoever is ultimately chosen will be allowed to work in the right environment, according to Prandelli, who wrote a letter of thanks to the FIGC on Monday, when he was presented as Mancini's successor on the Galatasaray bench.

"How many things happen in four years, how many people we meet, how many bonds we create in building a project," Prandelli wrote in an open letter published on the FIGC's official website. "I would like to thank one-by-one all of those who have accompanied, advised and supported me along the way, It's not possible because there are so many of them, so I will do it with these few lines.

"It was a privilege working with you and I will always be proud of it. I know how much love and passion has been dedicated to the Italy team. I would particularly like to thank president Giancarlo Abete, a key figure in these four years, who was always able to choose the right words at the right times.

"I hope that our experience, both positive and negative, can be a starting point for football in our country to have the dignity and the respect it deserves."


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