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City fans pay tribute to Mancini

Manchester City fans have expressed their gratitude to sacked manager Roberto Mancini by taking out an advertisement in the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport to praise him.

• Blog: Manhattan transfer

It mirrors Mancini's gesture in paying for a full-page advertisement in the Manchester Evening News in which he thanked them for their support during his three-and-a-half year reign at the Etihad Stadium.

The City fans reportedly raised more than £7,000 for their 'Grazie Mancini Fund', and their message in Gazzetta dello Sport read: "Per sempre uno di noi (forever one of us). Once a blue, always a blue."

Mancini was a hugely popular figure with City supporters after winning their first major trophy for 35 years, the 2011 FA Cup, and their first league title in 44, the Premier League 12 months ago.

He paid for a message to them, which read: "Manchester City supporters. Three unforgettable years. You will always be in my heart. Ciao. Roberto Mancini."

Mancini was sacked by City on May 13, two days after the FA Cup final defeat to Wigan and on the first anniversary of the day City won the Premier League title.

In their final two Premier League games of the season, supporters chorused his name and produced banners and flags saluting him.

Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini is set to be named Mancini's successor after the Spanish season finishes at the weekend.

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