Ranking the Potential Successors to Cesare Prandelli as Italy Coach
The aftershocks and ramifications of Italy’s second successive failure at the World Cup have been far reaching and will continue to be felt for some time. Not qualifying from the group stage has seen the resignations of both Cesare Prandelli and FA President Giancarlo Abete, as per Sky Sports.
While replacing the latter may only be of political concern, the departure of the coach will be keenly felt, such are the strides the Azzurri have made under the 56-year-old. He had made the national team a source of pride on the peninsula, a far cry from the embarrassing state of the side when he took over back in 2010.
Four years later, however, it appears little has changed, and now is the time for a fresh face to take command of the Italy bench. Abete had promised to urge Prandelli to reconsider, but the coach said he “will not go back” on that decision in a press conference (h/t Yahoo Sport) on Wednesday.
A wide-ranging list of candidates to replace the former Fiorentina boss has already begun to form, with some surprising names cropping up in connection with the role. Over the following pages is a closer look at that list, ranked in order of both likelihood and suitability to being Italy’s new coach.
One of the biggest problems for Italy is that the two men who are best suited to the job are wholly unavailable at the current time, making the search for alternatives more difficult. Both Antonio Conte and Carlo Ancelotti are too firmly ensconced in their club roles to take charge, with the Juve boss still at too early a stage of his career to consider it seriously.
Having just led Real Madrid to their long-awaited 10th European Cup victory, the former Milan and Parma boss is perhaps the most perfect name for the Azzurri bench. With a contract until 2016, it appears Prandelli’s exit has come at just the wrong time for the 55-year-old.
Perhaps the most shocking name linked to the coaching job so far is Fabio Cannavaro, who has no coaching experience at all but told reporters (h/t Football Italia) that “it would be an honour,” to take over.
3. Massimiliano Allegri
Fired by Milan in January after an abysmal start to 2013-14, it is easy to forget Massimiliano Allegri was once one of the brightest young managerial prospects in Italy. Serie A coach of the year in 2011, the 46-year-old led the Rossoneri to the league title that same year, wringing one last good season from the club’s aging veterans.
His more recent struggles in attempting to rebuild the San Siro giants as those older players moved on is much fresher in the memory, however, and his appointment would surely be met with derision on the peninsula.
2. Roberto Mancini
Like Allegri, Roberto Mancini’s failures are recalled far quicker than his successes, which many perceive as tainted victories that should come with asterisks. Winning titles in Italy’s post-Calciopoli landscape whilst failing in Europe means he is often viewed with scepticism but former team-mate Gianluca Vialli thinks he would be an excellent candidate.
“Allegri and Mancini seem to me to be two fascinating names,” the former Juventus captain told Sky Italia (h/t Forza Italian Football). “Roberto has the great advantage of being a little internationalized,” he added, a nod to Mancini’s time at Manchester City and Galatasaray.
Currently unemployed after leaving the Turkish club, Mancini is the early favourite, according to Simon Evans of Reuters.
1. Luciano Spalletti
The former Roma boss Luciano Spalletti has emerged as perhaps the prime candidate to take over, should Prandelli fail to reconsider his position, and it is easy to see why. Playing an exciting brand of football during his time at Roma, the 55-year-old is widely admired across Italy, though concerns about his attention to defence remain.
His spell in Russia could stand him in good stead, too, giving him a wealth of experience to call upon and knowledge of conditions and an environment far away from the comfort of Serie A. Like Mancini and Allegri his teams failed in the Champions League, but Prandelli had little continental success, either.
Free to take the job after Zenit sacked him in March, Spalletti is the best suited of the available names to take over the Italy hot seat.