Conte and two others on Italy manager shortlist


Alessandro Costacurta is eyeing Antonio Conte and Roberto Mancini for the Italy job as he feels they lack “great talents” on the field.

Italy’s next head coach will be Luigi Di Biagio, Antonio Conte or Roberto Mancini, according to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) vice-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta.

Gian Piero Ventura was sacked as Azzurri boss following November’s play-off defeat to Sweden, a loss that saw the four-time world champions miss out on World Cup qualification for the first time in 60 years.

Former Roma and Inter midfielder Di Biagio will step up from his role as Italy’s Under-21 coach to take charge of the senior side on a caretaker basis in next month’s friendly matches against Argentina and England.

Di Biagio is apparently firmly in the running for the full-time post, along with ex-Manchester City and current Zenit boss Mancini, but Costacurta once again naming Conte among his chosen candidates will again raise eyebrows.

On Tuesday, he suggested the Chelsea head coach was his preferred choice to take the reins with Italy, having led them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 before departing for Stamford Bridge and winning the Premier League last season.


Costacurta: “We will appoint the new Italy coach by June”
Speaking at the FIGC’s Coverciano headquarters, former AC Milan centre-back Costacurta told reporters: “We will appoint the new Italy coach by June. Conte, Mancini or Di Biagio? These are the names, it won’t be anyone else.”

Costacurta rowed back on the notion of Conte being his clear preference but insisted a top-class coach was required, offering a withering assessment of Italy’s current crop of players.

“I never said I prefer Conte overall,” he added. “I just said that, having already worked with the national team, he has the right parameters. He did well.

“Moreover, since there are no great talents at the moment, there is still a need for a very good coach.”