Written By Onyeka Daniel
Despite having to deal with the issue of his release clause with Napoli, the Italian football federation, the FIGC have gone ahead to confirm Luciano Spalletti as their new manager following the sudden resignation of Roberto Mancini.
The Italian FA have confirmed the date of the official unveiling of Luciano Spalletti, as well as sharing details of the former Napoli coach’s first squad announcement. In a press release issued yesterday, the Azzurri confirmed that Spaletti will sit down in front of the media for the first time at Coverciano on September 2.
He will be accompanied by FIGC President Gabriele Gravina. The FIGC president Spaletti’s first squad will be announced to the public one day earlier on September 1 as the Azzurri prepare for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against North Macedonia and Ukraine on September 9 and September 12 respectively.
Spaletti recently signed a three-year deal to lead the national team. His contract will run until the summer of 2026, the date of the next World Cup, which will take place across North America. It is believed that the 64-year-old will earn an annual salary of €3m during that time, the same figure as his release clause with Napoli.
In a recent interview, Gravina says Spalletti’s release clause is something between the coach and the club and blames both Aurelio De Laurentiis and ‘offensive’ Roberto Mancini. Gravina in a recent interview revealed why he picked Spalletti and also spoke about the release clause;
“Because he won the Serie A title exciting all those who love football,” said Gravina on the subject of picking the former Napoli coach. “He has the experience and has shown contagious enthusiasm from the first call. “It’s a romantic and thoughtful choice, perfect for what we have in mind, bringing the renewal forward and relying on young players,” the FIGC President added.
Spalletti left Napoli after winning the first Serie A title for the Partenopei in 33 years. However, he had a release clause which has not been paid yet. “I didn’t even know about it at the beginning. I found out from papers,” admitted Gravina. “The lawyers ensured that we could talk to him, the rest is a matter between Luciano and his ex-club.”
Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis and club lawyer Mattia Grassani had insisted that the clause had to be paid in full to release Spalletti. “I spoke to Aurelio, but I didn’t expect anything different although there is something else that did surprise me,” said Gravina.
“A lot of hate and hypocrisy from some critics, but it’s part of the game. I’ve also read about other coaches who were not in our plans. I immediately called Spalletti, the other candidate was Antonio Conte who can’t be considered a second choice, end of the story. “I didn’t expect De Laurentiis to talk about Mancini’s contract which he doesn’t know. Some claims were inappropriate, like when he said we had to pay to get Spalletti.
“The situation was clear from the very beginning. Luciano immediately told me that the clause is a problem between him and Napoli, FIGC never considered being involved.” He further added.
Former AC Milan manager, Carlo Ancelotti has given his predictions for where various teams will finish by the end of the 2023-24 Serie A season, sharing his thoughts on a number of the division’s top sides in a recent interview with Radio Serie A.
In a feature-length discussion, the Real Madrid coach also touched on the summer at his former club Milan, as well as paying tribute to two prominent figures of Italian football, Silvio Berlusconi and Carlo Mazzone. Though the 64-year-old was reluctant to make any specific calls on the eventual league winners, he does believe that there will be a number of teams fighting it out for the title.
“I don’t know is perhaps the easiest answer,” Ancelotti said. “But there’s a specific focus on four teams: Napoli, Milan, Inter and Juventus.” Ancelotti did suggest that with no European football to contend with this season, Juventus could be at a slight advantage in terms of domestic competitions, noting: “Without cups, they could be dangerous.
There will also be a battle between four teams in the fight to finish in fifth place according to Ancelotti. “Roma, Lazio, Atalanta and Fiorentina will try to stay there,” he said. “Roma have taken top-level players, but competing in Europe is difficult. A long-term project is needed since they can’t compete economically with the big clubs at the moment.”
Shortly afterwards, Ancelotti had some words about the late Berlusconi, with whom he worked very closely during his two spells with the Rossoneri. “He was an innovator . He always had great ideas and was able to put them into practice, even in football. He knew what he wanted and planned for it very well.”
Then, touching on Mazzone, who passed away a few days ago, Ancelotti said: “I never had a direct relationship with him, but I’ve always had a great image of him in my mind. An iconic, straightforward and genuine person who brought something new to the role of a coach.”
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