From a conflict magnet to a revival of Italy

The figure of Roberto Mancini returns to the fore after his masterful streak with the Italian team. His reputation as a 'pimp' has always overshadowed his ability as a coach.

From-a-conflict-magnet-to-a-revival-of-Italy

"Before celebrating a funeral, a corpse must be found." It was one of the juicy phrases that Roberto Mancini left in his time as a coach in Russia. Shortly after, he put an end to his volcanic one-year stage on the Zenit bench to coach his country's team. At that time, Italy was mired in ridicule, in desolation. On November 13, 2017, Sweden knocked her out of a World Cup finals for the second time in their history. A disaster. Months later, the former Italian coach of Fiorentina, Lazio, Inter, Manchester City and Galatasaray landed as a savior of transalpine pride. Always with his controversial halo behind his back (his character was already a pressure cooker as a player) .

Italy was depressed and Mancini fed up with his continuous confrontations with the Russian press. The two met along the way and the relationship is going from strength to strength. Italy has been without defeat for 22 consecutive games. The balance with the coach is very good: only two setbacks in 27 games with the azzurra (against Portugal and France). And classified for the semifinals of the second edition of the Nations League (it is a rival of Spain).

Mancini, a coach used to dealing with problems and surviving on the bench, has turned this Italy capable of everything in the future Eurocopa like a sock.Fame as a rebel but a winner

Mancini has always been described as an uncomfortable coach. "I am a pimp because I go against those who rule," he said in 2008 in an interview in El País. He is not a man who shuns conflict, although he has had them of all colors. With Mourinho, with Sarri, with Tévez, with Figo, with Ferguson, with Balotelli ("If I were a player I would have beaten your head") ... A magnet for finding problems.

Curiously with Italy it has been the opposite. He has known how to appease the spirits of a bench that seemed destined to explode: that of the Azzurra team and has done so by adapting. Italy is a difficult, uncomfortable team, capable of getting any rival in trouble at any time. Unpredictable. Like the person who runs it from the bench. Without a big star to cling to, Mancini has cast his part to everyone. And they all feel important. It does not matter if it is Insigne, Locatelli, Immobile, Barella, Bonucci, Donnarumma, Verratti, Chielini, Chiesa ... whoever has to pull the car. They all gladly do it when it's their turn. And in view of the results, the Mancini formula works.

"To stop Cristiano I will have to call the Police," said the Italian when he coached City in the run-up to a Champions League clash against Real Madrid. And it is that Mancini was dismissed in 2013 as a citizen coach with the vitola of "failed", after a last season forgotten but with the affection of the fans. The truth is that under his leadership the Manchester team won their first league title (2012) since 1968. Agüero's famous goal in extremis. And an FA Cup (2011). With Inter Milan he added three consecutive Scudettos (from 2006 to 2008) .

Some hits that have always been overshadowed by their label as controversial, 'cool', authoritarian and even stubborn. And that they have always earned him a lower status than other compatriots and colleagues. At 56 years old, he dreams of making Italy champions, an achievement that escaped him as a player.

Photos from as.com

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