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 By Ben Gladwell

Roberto Mancini interested in Italy job, dreams of World Cup win

Relive ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti's passionate response after Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Roberto Mancini has thrown his hat into the ring to become Italy's next coach by expressing his "dream" of winning the World Cup.

The Zenit St Petersburg coach is tipped to take the position made vacant after Gian Piero Ventura, who was sacked following the Azzurri's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Italy under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio will take charge of friendly games against England and France in March and June, when Mancini -- with the domestic football season over -- could become more of a serious candidate.

He has told La Gazzetta dello Sport that managing his country is one of his ambitions.

"I have a dream: to win as a coach of the [Italy] national team what I never won as a player -- the World Cup," Mancini said, adding that he would not miss the day-to-day running of a club -- something which caused Antonio Conte to remain in charge of Italy for just two years.

"I've been working on the field every day for 40 years now, as a player and a coach," he added. "And I'm still young and could return to a club after the national team. I've already worked and won in big clubs.

"Coaching the national team would be beautiful. It would be an honour; something to be proud of. And to win a European Championship or World Cup would be even greater."

Roberto Mancini gesturing
Roberto Mancini has managed club sides in Italy, England, Turkey and Russia.

If installed as Italy's next coach, Mancini believes he would have the tools to succeed.

"There are good youngsters around," he said. "I like [Andrea] Belotti, [Lorenzo] Pellegrini, [Alessio] Romagnoli, who still has a huge margin for improvement, and others are emerging every season. The Italians have that little bit extra. There's the material to do a good job.

"Money wouldn't be a problem, but let's be clear: we're just talking freely -- I'm under contract at Zenit and we're doing well."

Mancini took charge of Zenit last summer, signing a three-year contract. After making a strong start to the season, they have fallen off the pace of late and trail league leaders Spartak Moskow by eight points with two thirds of the season played.

The former Manchester City manager won Serie A three times while coach of Inter Milan, also lifting the Coppa Italia with Fiorentina, Lazio and twice with Inter. He won the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield in England and also lifted the Turkish Cup with Galatasaray.

Carlo Ancelotti and Claudio Ranieri have also been linked with the vacant Italy job, although first elections will be held to elect the Italian FA's new president before talks will be held with potential coaching candidates.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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