Seven men that could succeed Cesare Prandelli as Italy coach
Italy crashing out of the World Cup in Brazil has created shockwaves that can be felt in Turin, Rome, Milan and other Azzurri footballing hotbeds.
Pragmatic manager Cesare Prandelli has tendered his resignation, and found FIGC chief Giancarlo Abete doing likewise. Coral experts look at who could take the Italy job on.
Former Udinese and Roma boss Spalletti, 55, looks the most logical choice, following his harsh sacking from Zenit St Petersburg after over four years in Russia. He built on the good work done in Udine when he moved to the Eternal City. At Roma, Spalletti won back-to-back Coppa Italia titles and favours a 4-2-3-1, the en vogue formation of today.
Should his country come calling, he can offer them almost 20 years coaching experience. Spalletti might also bring cult heroes Antonio Di Natale and Francesco Totti, who played under him at Udinese and Roma respectively, into Italy’s backroom staff. The rising Azzurri stars could benefit from their experience.
What more can ex-Juventus captain Conte, 44, achieve in Turin? Three straight Serie A titles make him hot property, but realistically adding a Coppa Italia triumph to those apart, he cannot win anything new at the Old Lady. Spanish and German opposition in the Champions League are simply too strong for Juve.
Should his country come calling, however, then Conte could surely be tempted by a new challenge. He would bring a tactical approach of 3-5-2 with him to the Azzurri dugout, but the FIGC would owe Juventus compensation. Might there be a role for Alessandro Del Piero somewhere too?
Ex-Manchester City manager Mancini, 49, has recently parted company with Galatasaray so, like Spalletti, is available. Cups are something of a speciality of his, as he has delivered at least one to every club he has coached.
Acrimonious exits from recent jobs and those memorable spats with Mario Balotelli stick out, though. That cold, aloof man management style of Mancini’s coaching career to date would not serve him well as an international boss, however, because so little time is spent with the players.
The ‘Little Aeroplane’ Montella, 40, has built on a decent club career in spells in charge of Roma (as caretaker), Catania and now Fiorentina. He steered the Florentine outfit to a top four finish and the Coppa Italia final in 2013/14.
If Italy’s football federation want to go with a younger man, Montella looks to be a strong choice they must consider. He is progressive in his approach, and has contended with injury problems in attack at the Viola by instilling strong team spirit and getting players to share the goal burden.
Russia boss Capello, 68, is contracted through to the end of the 2018 hosts’ participation in the next World Cup. Should they bow out of the Brazil finals in the group stage, however, he could swiftly see that deal torn up.
Managing his own country could be Capello’s last hurrah should Russia fire him. It would be a swift return to coaching for a man that has accomplished everything there is to do in club football over in Italy.
Sacked by AC Milan in January, the stock of Allegri, 46, has fallen dramatically in recent years. One thing that counts in his favour, though, is he’s available. The Rossoneri sold their star players dring his spell, but that is hardly his fault.
Where Allegri has fallen down is finding replacements. The Italy job faces similar conundrums and soon. You just don’t get players of Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon calibre every day. Not an appointment Coral experts can recommend to the FIGC. It would be a last resort.
Former Rangers and Milan destroyer Gattuso is very young for the top job at 36. He has taken the post at Greek Super League side OFI Crete, but if his country were to hone into view from left-field, then he would answer the call.
What Gattuso lacks in experience – he is yet to manage in Serie A, but has in the division below and in Switzerland – would be more than compensated for in passion. An Azzurri team in his own image would be dogged, tough to break down and first into the tackle. All classic Italian qualities of a player heavily associated with their last real success.