- Category : Football Manager
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Duality 2
Roberto Mancini (born 27 November 1964) is an Italian former football player and most recently managed Premier League club Manchester City. As a player Mancini was best known for his time at Sampdoria, where he played more than 550 matches, and helped them win the Serie A league title, four Coppa Italias and the Cup Winners Cup, whilst being capped 36 times by Italy. As a player, he gained a penchant for becoming a future manager and would often give team talks at half-time and ultimately became an assistant to Sven-Göran Eriksson at Lazio near the end of his playing career.
Mancini's first managerial role was at a cash stricken Fiorentina at only 35 years old and managed to win a Coppa Italia, but left with Fiorentina facing bankruptcy. Months later, he took over as manager at Lazio, where again he inherited financial constraints and was forced to lose a number of key players. With limited resources during his two season tenure, he managed to guide the club to another Coppa Italia.
Admired for what he could do on a shoestring, Mancini was given the chance to manage a major club, being offered the manager's job at Inter Milan in 2004. During his tenure at Inter, the club won three consecutive Serie A titles — an Inter club record — and a European record 17 consecutive league game victories stretching nearly half a season; Mancini became Inter's most successful manager in 30 years. Despite his domestic success, many pundits saw the repeated failure to win the coveted Champions League as the main reason for his dismissal in 2008.
After being out of football for over a year, Mancini was appointed Manchester City manager in December 2009. Under his stewardship, he instilled a winning culture at the club taking Manchester City from a mid-table club to the pinnacle of English football. In the 2010–11 season, his first full season at Manchester City, Mancini guided the club to Champions League football and the FA Cup. In the 2011–12 season, Mancini guided Manchester City to the club's first league title in 44 years, in an enthralling last day of the season, winning 3–2, with two goals in injury time in what was called "the best match of the best last day of the season in English football history". Under Mancini, Manchester City progressed to the 2013 FA Cup Final, but were defeated by Wigan Athletic 1–0. Mancini was sacked on 13 May 2013, supposedly after relationships with players and staff broke down.
Mancini has won a total of 25 trophies; 13 as a player and 12 as a manager. Regarded as a cup specialist, Mancini has reached at least a semi-final of a major national cup competition in every season he has been a manager, from 2002 to 2013. He holds a number of records including most consecutive Coppa Italia finals from 2004 to 2008, with Lazio once in 2004 and with Inter Milan in the following four seasons.
Mancini was born in the small town of Iesi, Marche in 1964, but then moved onto the mountain town of Roccadaspide and was raised by Aldo and Marianna Mancini along with his younger sister Stephanie. Raised a Roman Catholic, his young life in Iesi revolved around religion and football. He was an altar boy and played for the local Aurora Calcio football team in his youth. On one occasion, a fixture clashed with his first Holy Communion. Halfway through the ceremony, the eight-year-old Mancini was nowhere to be seen. His local priest who was administering his first communion frequently coached football, he heard they were losing 2–0 at half-time and so he asked a young Mancini quietly after receiving his communion if he had his football kit and boots with him. Roberto said they were in the changing rooms and so he told him to sneak out of the side door and put them on because his team needed him, unbeknownst to his father.
Mancini debuted in the Italian Serie A for Bologna on 13 September 1981. The following year, he was bought by Sampdoria, for £2.2 million, whom he played for until 1997. With Sampdoria, he formed a dynamic strike partnership with Gianluca Vialli, and helped the club to its only league title in 1991, four Coppa Italias and a Cup Winners' Cup in 1990. He also appeared in the final of the 1991–92 European Cup against Barcelona. At 27, Mancini sat on the interview panel that selected Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager. Mancini often delivered the team-talk for Sampdoria. He attended board meetings and had a say in transfer business. In David Platt's 1995 autobiography, Achieving the Goal, he described the day he played at Sampdoria for Bari and, lining up in the tunnel, became aware that Mancini was looking his way. Platt wrote: "I thought nothing of it until he asked me, very matter-of-factly, if I was staying at Bari. Outright he asked if I wanted to join Sampdoria. Mancini had been at the club years and was almost a son to the president, Paolo Mantovani." Mancini kept in touch when Platt moved to Juventus and eventually helped bring him to Sampdoria. At that stage Mancini had established himself as the most powerful voice in the Blucerchiati dressing room.
Even as a teenager at Sampdoria, Mancini was not someone who liked his authority being questioned. Trevor Francis signed from Manchester City in 1982 and, aggrieved that his place was under threat, Mancini ended up picking a fight with him on the training ground. He was 18 at the time, taking on a man 10 years older. Nor was this a one-off. A similar thing happened with Liam Brady, this time giving away eight years. Juan Sebastián Verón tells the story of swearing in Mancini's direction during an argument about a badly taken corner. After the match Mancini had stripped off to the waist and was waiting to fight him. "He is not an easy person, you know," Verón says. "He has this complicated personality."
With Lazio he won his second scudetto and Cup Winners' Cup titles as well as two more Coppa Italias. In the 1999–00 season, Lazio won the scudetto and Coppa Italia, but Mancini failed to score in 20 matches and he announced his playing retirement. He joined Lazio's coaching staff as Sven-Göran Eriksson's number two. In 2011, when asked about Mancini, Eriksson said, "I took him to Lazio with me and he wanted to be a manager even while he was a player. He was the coach, he was the kit man, he was the bus driver, everything. At Sampdoria he wanted to check that everything was in place before training. Sometimes I would have to tell him: 'Mancio, you have a game to play on Sunday, you will be exhausted if you have to control everything.' But he was like that."
Joining Leicester City on loan in January 2001, Mancini made his Premier League debut against Arsenal at the age of 36, but failed to complete 90 minutes in his five appearances for the club. In early February, he was given leave of absence, citing personal reasons. He telephoned the club on 14 February, however, and informed them he would not be returning to England: he had been offered the manager's job at Fiorentina. Despite this, he cites his time at Leicester City as the period during which he fell in love with the English game, and which later prompted him to accept the job at Manchester City.
Despite success at club level, Mancini never became a regular for Italy. At the under-21 level, Mancini was part of the team which reached the semi-finals in the 1984 Championship and finished runners-up in 1986. He made his international senior squad debut in 1984 against Canada, won 36 caps, and scored four goals for his country: including a goal against West Germany at Euro 1988. Mancini was also a non-playing member of the Italian squad at the 1990 World Cup, being kept out of the side by competition from Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Baggio. His international career ended after a dispute with national team coach Arrigo Sacchi, when Mancini was upset because he would not be guaranteed a first team place at the 1994 World Cup. Fierce competition for places hindered his international opportunities with forward players like Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Baggio and later Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero hastening his self-imposed exile from the Italian national team.
Although Mancini had written a research pamphlet entitled "Il Trequartista", which examined the role of an attacking midfielder, he had not as yet attained the necessary coaching badges to become a manager. He therefore needed special dispensation from the Italian football authorities to take the post at Fiorentina. Fiorentina was plagued by financial problems and made occasional playing appearances himself. According to various sources, Mancini sometimes worked unpaid and even received death threats as key players such as Rui Costa and Francesco Toldo had to be sold. Despite this, Mancini managed to win the Coppa Italia before quitting in January 2002, after just 10 months in the job, with Fiorentina in the relegation zone of Serie A. Fiorentina were subsequently relegated in June 2002.
In May 2002, Mancini was appointed manager of Lazio. He was again restricted by financial considerations, having to sell key players such as Hernán Crespo and Alessandro Nesta, and players were forced to take an 80 percent pay cut. In his first season with Lazio, however, the club reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup. In 2003–04, Lazio won the Coppa Italia. Lazio finished fourth in 2003 and sixth in 2004. Before the start of the 2004–05 season, rumours circulated in the Italian press that Inter Milan had approached Mancini to fill the recently-vacated managerial position at the club. Shortly after, Mancini quit Lazio and announced that he would be joining Inter.
Under Mancini, Inter soon won the club's first domestic trophy since 1989. Inter became the dominant team in Italy. In Mancini's first season, Inter won the Coppa Italia with a 3–0 victory over Roma at the San Siro. Inter finished third in 2003–04 Serie A and reached the Champions League quarter-finals only to be knocked out by city rivals Milan 3–0 on aggregate. In August 2005, Inter won the 2005 Supercoppa Italiana for the second time in their history with a 1–0 victory over Juventus. Inter again won the Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup. Following the Calciopoli scandal, Juventus were stripped of the Scudetto title, which was handed to Inter instead. Inter achieved a record-breaking run of 17 consecutive victories in Serie A, starting on 25 September 2006, with a 4–1 home win over Livorno and ending on 28 February 2007 after a 1–1 draw at home to Udinese. The run lasted for almost five months and is among the best in European league football history. Inter won a second successive league title with five games to spare and only losing one league game all season. Inter finished with a record-breaking 97 points.
Mancini became the third coach in Inter history to win back-to-back league titles after Alfredo Foni; 1952–53 and 1953–54 and Helenio Herrera; 1964–65 and 1965–66). Inter also progressed to the Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup for the third consecutive season, but were beaten in both finals by Roma. Once again, however, Inter struggled in Europe. In the Champions League they were knocked out in the first knockout round by Valencia. At the end of the game, there was a mass brawl involving both sets of players. Mancini was not involved in the incident, but camera footage showed him attempting to block a camera's view, before he was seen shrugging his shoulders and walking away. This was Mancini's fourth, and final, season in charge of Inter. His reputation continued to grow as he added a third consecutive Serie A title to his honours. Again he guided Inter to the Coppa Italia final, but lost for a second consecutive season to Roma, 2–1 at the Stadio Olimpico. Despite his successes, the inability to make any real progress in the Champions League displeased Inter owner Massimo Moratti. Inter were knocked out in the first knockout round of the Champions League by Liverpool. The first leg took place at Anfield, with Marco Materazzi being sent off in the 30th minute but Inter almost held out for a draw, however two late goals in the 85th and 90th minute damaged their hopes of progressing. The return leg was at the San Siro, but again Mancini was not helped by the ill discipline of his players, with Nicolas Burdisso being sent off in the 50th minute, before Fernando Torres scored for Liverpool in the 64th minute to seal the tie 3–0 on aggregate.
In March 2008, amid rumours that he was to be sacked and replaced by José Mourinho at the end of the season, Mancini announced his intention to step down at the end of the 2007–08 season. He rescinded this decision a day later after meeting with Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti. On 29 May 2008, Inter officially announced the sacking of Mancini. Inter Milan chairman Massimo Moratti justified the sacking by pointing to Mancini's comments after the Liverpool defeat. He was replaced by José Mourinho, formerly of Chelsea.
Out of football
Mancini was linked to the vacant Chelsea job in May 2008 and then the Notts County job On 30 October 2009, Mancini won compensation for his sacking by Inter. The contract settlement, however, meant Mancini was actually unemployable by any other club from May 2008 to October 2009. It was rumoured that Mancini was entitled to a €16 million pay-off, but in the end, he reportedly settled for €5 million.
On 19 December 2009, Mancini was publicly revealed to be taking over as manager of Manchester City on a three-and-a-half-year deal following the sacking of Mark Hughes. With wealthy Emirati owners who were willing to invest heavily in the team, Manchester City had become a club expectant of success. Having been appointed half-way through the season, Mancini's arrival had an immediate impact on City's form, with four consecutive wins. Mancini won his first ever Manchester Derby 2–1 in a League Cup semi-final first leg. Manchester United won the second-leg 3–1, however, and eliminated City from the competition. In April, City moved into fourth place in the Premier League. On 5 May, however, a single goal defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur meant that City missed out on a Champions League spot. City finished the season in fifth place, their highest Premier League finish. There had been speculation that Mancini might lose his job if City failed to secure Champions League football, but chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak gave his support to Mancini.
Mancini spent heavily during the summer transfer window. He signed German international defender Jérôme Boateng from Hamburg for approximately £10.64 million, Spanish World Cup winner David Silva from Valencia for approximately £24 million, Yaya Touré from Barcelona for around £24 million, and Aleksandar Kolarov from Lazio for approximately £16 million. The 2010–11 Premier League season was marked by runs of mixed form. With a 2–0 win away at Wigan Athletic on 19 September 2010, City moved into fourth position in the league and did not drop out of the top four positions during the rest of the season. In October and November, the team struggled for form, which put some pressure on Mancini, with his tactics widely criticised following two consecutive 0–0 home draws with Manchester United and Birmingham City.
A fine run of form in the weeks running up to Christmas, however, meant City occupied first place in the Premier League twice over the Christmas period. In the ten games before 15 January 2011, City won seven times, drew twice, and lost only once as they moved into title contention, whilst also securing passage into the Round of 32 of the Europa League by finishing as the top team in Group A. As a result of his team's strong league form, Mancini was awarded the Premier League Manager of the Month award for December. Premier League form tailed off again in the new year with City jointly contesting the FA Cup and Europa League, and Mancini cited burnout for losing ground in the league title race. City were eliminated from the Europa League by Dynamo Kyiv in March, but his team replied strongly by winning eight out of the next ten matches, including an FA Cup semi-final victory at Wembley Stadium over local rivals Manchester United in April.
A win over Tottenham Hotspur in May guaranteed City the opportunity to play Champions League football the following season. This win was followed by City winning the FA Cup with a 1–0 victory over Stoke City in the following weekend's final at Wembley. This FA Cup triumph meant that Mancini joined five other City managers who have all won major honours, and it has finally ended the club's longest trophy drought in its history. Due to their late run of form, City finished third in the league ahead of Arsenal after a 2–0 win over Bolton Wanderers on the last day of the season, thereby avoiding the need to participate in play-off round fixtures in order to progress to the group stages of the following season's Champions League competition. Only goal difference separated City from achieving a second place finish over Chelsea.
The club were quieter in the closed season transfer window than in previous years, with the club's spending of approximately £75 million more in line with the corresponding amounts spent by rivals Manchester United and Liverpool. £60 million of this sum was used to purchase two players: Sergio Agüero, for a club record fee, and Samir Nasri. Other players purchased during the summer included Gaël Clichy and Stefan Savi?, while Owen Hargreaves joined on a free transfer after having been released by Manchester United. City started this Premier League season very strongly, winning 12 of their first 14 matches, and scoring an impressive 48 goals while only conceding 13. These results left City undefeated and five points clear at the top of the league over second-placed local rivals Manchester United by the beginning of December. A revitalised Edin Džeko won the Premier League player of the month award for August 2011, and David Silva won the same award for September 2011. Many were impressed with the impact of Agüero and Nasri which had given City an exciting, attacking verve. Mancini was also responsible for inflicting United's worst loss since 1955 when his City side won 6–1 at Old Trafford. He was named Premier League Manager of the Month as a result of City's strong form in the month of October. City maintained the lead in the Premier League over the next five months, but struggled in the Champions League in group that involved Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal. City failed to progress, but finished third in the group with 10 points, normally enough to guarantee qualification into the knock-out stages.
A 3–2 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup third round on 8 January 2012 was bittersweet. City had Vincent Kompany controversially sent-off in the sixth minute and United managed to create a 3–0 lead before half-time against a lacklustre and beleaguered City team. However, after numerous tactical changes from Mancini at half-time, City came out fighting with 10-men – a shadow of the team that played in the first half. Two goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergio Agüero narrowed the deficit to just one goal. City were in the ascendency and continued to push for an equalising despite having only 10-men, but failed to do so with the final whistle. Mancini later believed the match was a seminal moment in the development of his team, demonstrating that City were a better team than United. He believed that the match helped to carve out a fighting spirit that his team had previously lacked.
City also progressed to the League Cup semi-final, maintaining Mancini's record of reaching a major competition semi-final in every season he has managed. City played Liverpool, and conceded an away goal in the first leg with a penalty from Steven Gerrard. City went to Anfield, and led twice with goals from Nigel de Jong and Edin Džeko, but another penalty from Steven Gerrard and a goal from Craig Bellamy meant Liverpool won 3–2 on aggregate. On 13 May 2012, City clinched the Premier League title in a dramatic 3–2 win over QPR, after originally being 2–1 down going into injury time. He became the second Italian manager to win a Premier League title after Ancelotti's Chelsea team in 2009–10.
Mancini stated pre-season that Manchester City's long-term aim was to win the UEFA Champions League. Mancini declared that he envisaged less transfer activity in the summer, and is content with his attacking strikers. On 9 July 2012 Manchester City announced that Roberto Mancini had signed a new 5-year deal, meaning that he is contracted with the club until summer 2017. Manchester City began the new season by participating in, and winning, the 2012 FA Community Shield against 2012 FA Cup winners, Chelsea on 12 August 2012, at Villa Park. Manchester City won 3–2 on this occasion. On 21 November 2012, a 1–1 draw at home to Real Madrid saw Manchester City and Mancini exit the Champions League at the group stage for the second successive season. Manchester City ended 2012 second on the league table, seven points behind local rivals Manchester United. In contrast to the 2011–12 league, Mancini's team struggled to score goals and suffered some poor results such as a 3–1 loss to Southampton (Which Mancini described as the worst performance whilst at Manchester City) and a 2–0 loss to Everton in the second half of the season. Their poor form lead to United capturing the title on the 22 April with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa with four games to spare, and Mancini's team lay a distant sixteen points behind the League winners. Manchester City lost to Wigan Athletic 1–0 in the 2013 FA Cup Final, with a late goal from Ben Watson.
Two days later on 13 May 2013, Mancini was sacked as manager of Manchester City was partly because of Manchester City's loss to Wigan in the F.A Cup final. Aside from the season's poor European showing and timid league defence, it was reported that Mancini's relationship with the board and indeed his players had deteriorated to the point of no return. Speculation over Mancini's future had mounted for months beforehand - a question regarding Manuel Pellegrini possibly taking Mancini's job in February 2013 provoked an expletive response from Mancini during a press conference. Mancini's public criticism of backroom and playing staff as well as his distant relationships alienated the players and the club hierarchy during the last eight months of his tenure. On sacking Mancini, the club cited the need for a more 'holistic' approach for the long-term future of the club - namely a manager passionate for developing players at youth level to create a 'one house football club' as City look to open their new £100 million youth academy at the Etihad Campus in 2014. A week after his sacking, Mancini took out a full page advert in the Manchester Evening News to say thank you and goodbye to Manchester City fans - an act that was reciprocated in the Gazetta dello Sport by Manchester City supporters.
Despite Mancini being a striker during his playing career, Mancini places great emphasis on building from the back, stressing the importance of not conceding a goal means the team will always have an opportunity to win, going as far to say, "I like 1–0 wins. When you don't concede a goal and you have players like Edin Džeko, Carlos Tévez or David Silva, you win 90%. I prefer we are boring for two to three matches and we win 1–0. If you watch teams that won titles, they conceded very few goals." Despite this, some argue Mancini is more of a "defence first" manager, rather than a "win first" manager, a style that has been criticised by some in the British media. Others, however, believe his pragmatic and cautious approach is what the team lacked, and that Mancini is adopting a style to ensure City can challenge for trophies regularly.
Although Mancini has been defensive in some fixtures at Manchester City which has attracted criticism, he did inherit a team from Mark Hughes, which whilst showing great prolificacy and potential in front of goal, had an insecure defence. Months of intensively coaching his defence, even throwing young Dedryck Boyata into the fray from the youth team in Mancini's first few weeks enabled him to get his tenure at City off to a positive start. In Inter Milan's Serie A winning season 2007–08, Inter conceded the fewest goals in the league – 26 to be precise, 11 fewer than Juventus and Roma. At City, his team has gradually garnered a reputation as being well organised defensively and tough to break down. In Mancini's first full season in charge at City, they conceded 33 goals in the Premier League, fewest conceded along with Chelsea and 18 clean sheets, the highest in the 2010–11 Premier League season.
Mancini's training methods have been criticised by some City players and especially by ex-Manchester City fitness coach Raymond Verheijen, who is a personal fitness coach for Craig Bellamy. During his time at City, Mancini has tried to stamp his authority with rebellious players who are unhappy or are not performing and has stated "If a top player is not happy then it's better to go". It has been alleged that Mancini has had frosty relationships with Craig Bellamy, club physiotherapist Jamie Murphy and Emmanuel Adebayor who was unhappy at not getting first team football.
Mancini is known to use the media to alleviate the pressure from his players. Following City's defeat to Arsenal in the 2011–12 season, a deficit of 8 points had been established between rivals Manchester United with only six matches left to play. After the Arsenal match, he believed the deficit was catchable. However, City won the next match convincingly against West Brom 4–0, but from then on Mancini maintained in post-match interviews that the title race was over. City won the next three matches, meaning a win against Manchester United would put them top of the league on goal difference. City beat United 1–0, with Mancini conceding the title race was back on – but that United were favourites with two matches to play. Mancini's unorthodox approach worked, and City won the league on goal difference with 89 points after six consecutive league wins in the final six matches. Mancini's players believed his approach alleviated pressure and helped City to win the last six league matches which won the title on goal difference. Mancini stated afterwards that he always believed personally that City could win the title, but wanted his players to prove they could despite his public statements suggesting otherwise.
Mancini has been married for nearly 28 years to his wife, Federica. He is a Catholic and attends mass regularly with his family. They have a daughter and two sons, Filippo and Andrea, who have both played in the Internazionale youth ranks, where Filippo has played 10 minutes in a Coppa Italia match. Both of his sons have at one point been a part of Manchester City's 'Under-21' youth team. Filippo trained with the club's youth/reserve team for several months during the 2007–08 season before Roberto was appointed as City's manager, while Andrea was signed by his father for the current Elite Development Squad in November 2010 after being released from Bologna. Andrea was released at the end of the 2011–12 season. He was estimated to have a personal wealth of £19m in 2011. Mancini has stated he watches the soap opera Coronation Street to help improve his English. Mancini maintains a tradition of wearing a scarf of his club's colours, something which has been continued at Manchester City.