Italy appoints Spalletti as new coach of national team

Luciano Spalletti, who led Napoli to the Serie A title last season, has been appointed coach of European champions Italy, the Italian football federation (FIGC) announced on Friday.

Spalletti takes over from Roberto Mancini, who resigned unexpectedly last Sunday after five years in the job.

Spalletti ended Napoli’s 33-year wait for the Serie A trophy last season before leaving his post.

The FIGC said in a statement they had “reached an agreement with Luciano Spalletti for the position of coach of the Italian national team starting from September 1”.

“Let’s welcome Spalletti,” said FIGC president Gabriele Gravina, “the national team needed a great coach and I am very happy that he accepted the technical guidance of the Azzurri.

“His enthusiasm and his expertise will be fundamental for the challenges that await Italy in the coming months”.

Spalletti’s official presentation will take place at the national training centre at Coverciano, near Florence, before Euro 2024 qualifiers against North Macedonia and Ukraine, the FIGC said.

The 64-year-old Tuscan will be in charge of reviving the national team which, despite winning the European title in 2021, failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Italy travel to Northern Macedonia on September 9 and host Ukraine in Milan three days later.

Italy are third in Group C with three points after a 2-0 win over Malta and a 2-1 loss to England, who are top with 12 points from four games.

Mancini, in charge since May 2018, resigned citing “a personal decision” and has been touted for the post of coach of Saudi Arabia.

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