Roberto Mancini: Has Manchester City Finally Struck Gold?

Giancarlo RinaldiCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2009

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 4: Roberto Mancini of Inter gestures during the Serie A match between Milan and Inter at the Stadio San Siro on May 4, 2008 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by New Press/Getty Images)
New Press/Getty Images

Watch out England, the Italians are taking over.

The national team is in the hands of Fabio Capello, the league leaders belong to Carlo Ancelotti, and struggling West Ham is under the guidance of Gianfranco Zola.

Now the biggest of your big spenders have Roberto Mancini.

If things keep going at this pace, we’ll be able to change the Premiership brand into Serie A by the end of the next decade or so. But what are Manchester City getting for their many million pounds?

Well, Mancio was certainly one heck of a footballer. His elegance, class, and improvisational skills made him a star performer for Bologna, Sampdoria, Lazio, and Italy.

The less said about his brief spell with Leicester City the better.

As for his coaching career to date, it has certainly carried one key component more than any other—trophies.

He started out as assistant to Sven Goran Eriksson (where have I heard that name before?) at Lazio but got his first proper job at Fiorentina in 2001. In something of an emergency situation due to their financial difficulties, he took a patched-up Tuscan side to the Coppa Italia final and won.

He also ensured their Serie A survival, but with the club in turmoil off the pitch, he moved on to pastures new just a year after taking his first managerial trophy.

It was, however, out of the frying pan and into the fire.

The big-spending days at Lazio had gone and Mancio once again found himself trying to manage a club obliged to sell its best players. A Coppa Italia was delivered again as he triumphed in adversity.

It was only in his third coaching position, at Inter, that he got a bit of money to spend.

With Italian football in the eye of the Calciopoli storm, he delivered three league titles in a row.

His supporters saw that as confirmation that he was one of the finest young managers of his generation. Detractors complained that he had been handed one title and won the others because his major rivals were either not in the league or significantly penalised.

Manchester City fans can reach their own conclusions.

It was Europe, however, which ultimately proved fatal to Mancini in Milan.

All conquering at home, he could not deliver a team which performed to the same levels in the Champions League. Mind you, it has also proved beyond Jose Mourinho so far.

Now he takes up the fresh challenge of the Premiership and, presumably, trying to break into the top four some time soon.

As a player he was known for attacking flair and he likes his teams to play with a certain panache too. However, over time he has learned to give them the bite necessary to produce results.

Only time will tell if he can prove himself in a different country.

But one thing is for sure. If he can put Manchester City into the Champions League it would rank alongside anything he ever achieved in Italy.


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