Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Roberto Mancini was on Sunday named as the new coach of the Saudi Arabia national team after he controversially quit the Italy job earlier this month.
The Saudis, who beat eventual champions Argentina at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, have been without a coach since Herve Renard left to take charge of France’s women’s team.
Mancini, 58, led Italy to the Euro 2020 title but failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup.
“I am immensely honoured to be offered the position as Saudi Arabia national team manager,” said Mancini who has signed a four-year contract.
“I believe this is a great opportunity for me, to experience football in a new country, especially with the growing popularity of football in Asia.”
He added: “The presence of top players in the Saudi Pro League indicates the potential for growth in the national football scene.”
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude oil exporter, has made waves this summer by buying a host of players from European clubs for teams in the Saudi Pro League.
Brazil star Neymar was the latest in a growing list of big names to be attracted by the huge sums offered by the Saudis after Cristiano Ronaldo kicked off the trend by moving to Al-Nassr in January.
Newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport reported on Sunday that Mancini’s contract would come with an annual salary of 25 million euros ($27 million).
The federation’s statement did not disclose his salary.
“The appointment confirms the new era of growth for the Saudi Arabian national team and marks a new milestone in Mancini’s distinguished career,” the Saudi federation said in a statement confirming Mancini’s appointment.
Mancini was due to arrive in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Monday to be presented to the media.
His first match with the team is set for September 8, an international friendly against Costa Rica at St James’ Park, home of Newcastle which is owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
Another friendly against South Korea is scheduled to be held in the English city on September 12.
A video posted to the Green Falcons’ account Sunday on X, formerly Twitter, featured Mancini in a white shirt and green tie, declaring, “I made history in Europe, now it’s time to make history with Saudi.”