Bengaluru, May 14: Roberto Mancini is tipped to become Italy's next coach after Russian club Zenit St Petersburg terminated his contract mutually, though he remained coy about the
Italy's top post has been vacant since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked when the four-time champions failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia from June 14 to July 15.
Mancini, who has coached a number of elite sides including Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Manchester City, led the latter to a first English title in 44 years in 2012.
The Italian is a respected figure in football circles in his country and the grapevine is that he will succeed Ventura, though the Azzurris do not have any international commitments in the near future.
The 53-year-old had quite often spoken about his intention to take up the reins of the national team.
"When you're abroad you always miss your country," Mancini was quoted as saying in a recent interview with Sky Italia.
"You see the national team playing and it takes you back to the past, the 70s and the 80s, with great emotion.
"You never know in life, I think that coaching Italy one day would be an extraordinary thing," Mancini added.
Recently, Italian soccer federation commissioner Roberto Fabbricini had confirmed that Mancini held talks with them, but that no deal had been reached.
Mancini, one of the highest-profile foreign coaches to join the Russian Premier League (RPL) in recent years, had initially signed a three-year contract with Zenit in 2017.
Zenit are currently fifth in the RPL with one game remaining.
Talking about his decision to leave the club early, Mancini said, "I want to emphasise that the move to leave Zenit was exclusively my own," Mancini told the club's website.
"Much of it has to do with family circumstances. The decision to leave was made some three months ago," he said.
However, Mancini remained tight-lipped when asked if his decision had anything to do with the Italian national job.
"It has nothing to do with the club or the national team," he added.
Mancini also revealed that that he currently had no agreement with the Italian team and could not confirm he would be named to the post.
"It would've been wrong to negotiate before the contract was broken, It would be against the rules."
(With inputs from Agencies)