Recent Serie A-winning manager Luciano Spalletti has returned to football well ahead of schedule after the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio officially announced him as the next in line to take charge of Gli Azzurri.
Per football insider Fabrizio Romano, Spalletti is set to take the national team reigns with immediate effect after the five-year reign of Roberto Mancini reached its conclusion when he recently stepped down as head boss.
The 64-year-old Certaldo native recently led Napoli to their first Serie A title in three decades during a sublime 2022-23 campaign, which also saw the Campania-based side reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in its history.
Spalletti’s CV unquestionably made him the best possible candidate to take up the vacancy at the nation’s Tuscany-based Centro Tecnico Federale di Coverciano camp, after the Tuscan native spent the last three decades in management after calling time on his playing career at the age of 34 after a final spell with Empoli.
He would immediately take charge of the club for five years after hanging up his boots before heading off on a series of managerial stints at Sampdoria, Venezia, Udinese (twice), Ancona, AS Roma (twice), Zenit Saint Petersburg, and Inter Milan before his arrival in Naples.
Spaletti has bagged multiple honors during his three decades on the touchline, including three domestic cup wins with Roma and four major honors with Zenit, but his period with Napoli was perhaps the most impressive, where under his guidance, the attacking partnership of Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was one of the most vaunted anywhere in Europe.
As reigning European champions, Italy recently finished third in the UEFA Nations League after dispatching the Netherlands in a 3-2 consolation win in the wake of losing to eventual champions Spain in the semi-finals, but got off to a somewhat rocky start in Euro 2024 qualifying.
An opening 2-1 loss against England in Naples was followed up with a lackluster 2-0 win over minnows Malta.
His first official match in charge comes during next month’s international break when Italy heads off to Skopje to clash with North Macedonia at Toše Proeski Arena