Ask any Manchester United fan about the 2011-12 Premier League season and the reaction will be one of agony and heartbreak. The iconic Martin Tyler screamed at Sergio Agüero’s goal for the title win in overtime in the final game of the season still resonates at the Etihad. But the man who led Manchester City from noisy mid-table neighbors to true challengers to Red Devils hegemony in the country is often forgotten. However, for legends, appreciation for their past is like an insult, and they prefer to create a new legacy wherever they go, and that’s all Roberto Mancini is about, creating a legacy.
The man responsible for the rebirth of the Azzurri after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup it sent shockwaves to the country’s soccer fans. He took a vulnerable and aging Italian team and used his management skills, training methods and winning mindset to inspire them to become a superior team again.
As Italy nears an exciting quarter-final match against Belgium, FootTheBall brings you 10 unknown facts about Roberto Mancini from his personal and professional life –
1st KING OF THE ITALIAN CUP
The Italian coach and former player holds the record for winning the most Coppa Italia titles, despite retiring as a player 20 years ago. Mancini won a total of six Italian Cups during his time with Sampdoria (4) and Lazio (2). His record was recently equaled by Gianluigi Buffon when Juventus won this year’s Coppa Italia.
His love for the prestigious cup did not end his playing career and Roberto Mancini won the trophy four more times as a coach with Fiorentina (1), Lazio (1) and Inter Milan (2).
He also won Serie A titles twice as a player and three times as a coach.
2. A MISSING ALTAR CHILD
Born into a Catholic family, Mancini was a devout Christian who also served as an altar boy in the local church, assisting the priest in conducting daily activities. One day, Mancini had to attend his First Communion and coincidentally his home team was playing a great game. The boy at his tender age missed the game and went to fulfill his duties.
But suddenly he disappeared, his father tried to locate him but could not do so and instantly knew that a young man Mancio he had gone to play soccer. When his humiliated father went to apologize to the priest, he learned that it was the priest himself who asked Roberto to come at halftime to help his team. It was written in his destiny to become a footballer and nothing could have changed that.
3. GOAL TWINS
Roberto Mancini, 18, was receiving offers from all over Italy after his debut season in Serie A, and decided to go to Sampdoria, where he spent most of his career. At Sampdoria, the ambitious board funded many star transfers, but what turned out to be the best thing for them was 19-year-old Gianluca Vialli, who along with Roberto Mancini made a brilliant partnership and the duo earned the nickname “Goal Twins. ”For their performances together.
The duo won many trophies together with Sampdoria during the eight years they played together and even led Sampdoria to a Champions League final, which they sadly lost.
4. A LEADER BEFORE A MANAGER
Some players show their intentions and qualities to become successful managers in the future, and Mancini was certainly one of them. Even from a young age, Roberto Mancini loved giving team talks and motivating his team to win. His leadership qualities became a great addition to his skills on the field and understanding of the game. He had a great winning mentality and could never accept defeat even for the greatest of teams.
At Sampdoria, his influence was such that, at age 27, he sat on the interview panel that selected Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager. Mancini also had a voice in the club’s transfer business. He spent a total of 15 years at the club and was also called the son of the president because of his relationship with the club president Paolo Mantovani.
5. BORN FIGHTER
As humble and calm as he seems at 56 years old, Roberto Mancini was fierce on the soccer field. There are many cases where he fights with other players and if something bothers him, he will not shy away from throwing a few punches. When Mancini was just 18 years old, the signing of Trevor Francis from Manchester City threatened his place in the starting eleven, and the teenager did something really shocking, he fought a Francis 10 years his senior in training camp.
Another famous example is remembered by his former teammate Sebastian Veron, who had sworn in Mancini’s direction at a poorly taken corner. After the match, Veron found Mancini naked to the waist waiting to fight in the locker room.
6. WHEREVER I GO, THE TROPHIES FOLLOW
An impressive record that every Azzurri fan would love to hear and pray that he continues with the national team as well. The 56-year-old has managed six clubs in his 20-year career so far and has won at least one trophy with each of them, accumulating a total of 13 trophies in his coaching career.
While leading an international team for the first time and training in their first major international tournament, the team has performed well so far and is on a winning streak. He will undoubtedly become a national hero if he can carry the trophy legacy to international football.
7. A FAN OF YOUTH
Mancini managed some of the most financially limited clubs early in his career, including Fiorentina and Lazio, and understands the importance of having a youth system that can train players according to the needs of the team. His time with the Italian team is no different. In three years with the national configuration, Mancini debuted with more than 25 players and started more than 60 different players, giving everyone a chance to prove themselves.
Among those rookies were players like Nicolo Zaniolo and Sandro Tonali, who had not even made their Serie A debut by then. This has been hailed as one of the main reasons for Italy’s turnaround at Euro 2020.
8. A FASHION ICON AT 56
In an age where hoodies, caps and sneakers have taken over and no one really focuses on the fashion side of the touchline, the Italian manager took on the responsibility of keeping the game alive. style on and off the field. He likes to have an elegant presence and to wear a blazer and pants during matches and not to forget his favorite scarf.
He is currently the ambassador for the Italian brand Paul & Shark and his soft style in Italy’s official gray blazer and black pants has impressed many fashionistas. The 56-year-old is without a doubt a fashion icon and looks like nothing short of a model when
9. MANCINI LOVES HIS BEACH BODY
A fit body is the sign of great personality and no modern football coach has maintained a physique like Roberto Mancini. Aside from his tactical prowess and winning mentality, having a coach like Mancini is great motivation for players with his rigorous fitness regimen.
With his great sense of fashion and a beachy body like a Hollywood star, Mancini is without a doubt the most elegant man in football management. His images of enjoying a walk by the sea caused a sensation and the Italian coach may be an inspiration for some footballers who lose their shape as soon as they retire.
10. SWEET BITTER WITH AZZURRI
Despite having a great club career in Italy, Roberto Mancini, who played as a second striker or as an attacking midfielder, was unable to become a permanent member of the national team. He was only able to play 36 matches and scored just four goals for the Azzurri as a player, but his team has been breaking all national records one by one and is getting his due credit as a coach.
Roberto Mancini has led Italy to 31 games undefeated.
A new record for Azzurri! 🇮🇹👏 pic.twitter.com/EVuvzroeIg
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 26, 2021
Roberto Mancini took over a stumbling Italian team that had lost self-confidence. He instilled a winning culture and mindset in players and is on a great journey so far. If he can lead the team to become the European champion, he is sure to become an Italian legend decades after the last time he played in the famous blue colors.