Galatasaray boss Roberto Mancini has outed himself as a Juventus fan on the eve of his new club’s visit to Turin in the Champions League.
The former Inter Milan coach inevitably enjoys little sympathy among Juve supporters given his Nerazzurro past, but he attempted to build bridges with them ahead of his first appearance in Turin’s new stadium by revealing his true colours.
"I’m born Juventino and I was Juventino up to the age of 13 or 14," the 48-year-old said at a press conference at the Juventus Stadium. "This is the beautiful thing about my job -- one day you are out of work, the next you are here in the Champions League facing Juventus. Things can happen so quickly."
Mancini’s swift instalment as Galatasaray coach meant he only got to train his new team on the eve of their Champions League encounter with the Bianconeri, and he admitted his side face a tough task against the Italian champions.
"Of course it’s a handicap to take over a team just a day before a game, I don’t have a magic wand," Mancini said. "We’re going to need luck, but it could be an advantage that I know Juventus pretty well."
However, he is delighted to be back in the game and able to measure himself up to one of his greatest antagonists in front of almost 40,000 fans.
"If I wanted an easy life, I would have stayed at home and watched it on the sofa," Mancini said. "This is my job and this is what makes it beautiful. [Predecessor Fatih] Terim is rightly loved by the fans -- he’s one of the biggest Turkish coaches and one of the biggest in Europe, but these things happen in football. I was called by Galatasaray and I’m delighted to be able to carry on Terim’s good work."
Mancini is not the only familiar foe for the Juve fans. Felipe Melo wore their colours for two years, but that did not prevent him from being regarded as a villain by many of the Juve fans, quick to make him a scapegoat for two disappointing seasons.
"I expect they will whistle me, but I don’t care," the Brazilian said. "I’m delighted to be where I am, I have no regrets. I was here for two years and when you suffer together, you leave a bit of your heart here, but I want to do my job and help Galatasaray.
"Sadly, the two years I spent here were not the best, but nobody can say I never gave it my all. I still speak to some of my ex-team-mates and I’m delighted for the two titles they have won, but I’ve also won two Turkish titles in the past two years."