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Spalletti Brings Large Italian Flag Sewn by His Mother to New National Team Role

by Andrew Wright
1 comment
Luciano Spalletti new national coach of Italy

At the age of 11, Luciano Spalletti requested his mother to craft a sizable Italian flag in honor of Italy’s 4-3 victory over West Germany in the 1970 World Cup semifinals, a contest often referred to as the “Game of the Century.”

Spalletti announced on Saturday, during his introduction as Italy’s new national coach, that he would be bringing that very flag to the sideline of the national team. “My aim is to inspire this dream in a new generation of young individuals,” he stated.

Spalletti described the experience as one that eludes verbal articulation. The 64-year-old, credited with steering Napoli to a Serie A championship in the previous season, assumed his new role following the unexpected departure of Roberto Mancini last month, who subsequently assumed control of the national team of Saudi Arabia.

Known for his offensive strategies while at Napoli, which received accolades throughout Europe, Spalletti had initially expressed an intention to take a year-long break from soccer. However, he accepted the offer from the Italian Football Federation without hesitation.

The appointment seems suitable for Spalletti, a Tuscan native who resides on a farm just an hour’s drive away from the national team’s training facility in Coverciano, a small area within Florence.

Upon his departure from Napoli, Spalletti had signed an agreement that mandated a 3-million-euro ($3.3 million) payment should he resume employment within one year. Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis insists that this fee is due, a point of contention that the Italian Football Federation disputes, arguing that the national team is not in competition with Napoli. Spalletti expressed optimism that a resolution favorable to both parties would be reached, noting that legal experts are currently engaged in the matter.

Roberto Mancini’s tenure had been marked by both highs and lows, including a European Championship win in 2021 and a failure to qualify for the subsequent World Cup. Gabriele Gravina, the federation president, did not mince words about the bittersweet sentiments regarding Mancini’s exit. Regarding Spalletti, Gravina said, “Luciano is wholly committed to everything he holds dear: his family, his community, his homeland, and the sport of soccer.”

Italy is set to compete against North Macedonia and Ukraine in the European Championship qualifiers on September 9 and 12, respectively. Currently, Italy trails England and Ukraine in Group C with a total of three points from their initial two matches.

In a surprising move, Spalletti excluded former regulars Leonardo Bonucci, Jorginho, Marco Verratti, and Francesco Acerbi from his first squad list. Bonucci recently transferred to Union Berlin, Jorginho has been relegated to a substitute role at Arsenal, Verratti is reportedly leaving Paris Saint-Germain for Saudi Arabia, and Acerbi is recuperating from an injury.

Spalletti emphasized that player selection was contingent on their “commitment and behavior,” explaining that he picks players based on these criteria, rather than their reputation.

For more information, visit AP Soccer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Luciano Spalletti new national coach of Italy

What is the significance of the Italian flag Luciano Spalletti is carrying?

The Italian flag that Luciano Spalletti will be carrying to the national team’s bench was sewn by his mother when he was 11 years old. The flag was made to celebrate Italy’s 4-3 win over West Germany in the 1970 World Cup semifinals, a match often dubbed the “Game of the Century.”

Who did Luciano Spalletti replace as the coach of the Italian national team?

Luciano Spalletti replaced Roberto Mancini as the coach of the Italian national soccer team. Mancini left the position unexpectedly last month and subsequently took over as the coach of Saudi Arabia’s national team.

Why did Spalletti decide to take up the coaching role for the Italian national team despite planning a sabbatical?

Spalletti initially intended to take a year-long break from soccer but changed his mind upon receiving an offer from the Italian Football Federation to coach the national team. He accepted the position without hesitation.

Is there any legal issue related to Spalletti’s appointment?

Yes, there is a legal issue concerning a clause in Spalletti’s contract with his former club, Napoli. The clause requires him to pay 3 million euros ($3.3 million) if he returns to work within a year of leaving Napoli. The Italian Football Federation and Napoli’s president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, are in disagreement over whether this fee is due.

What changes has Spalletti made to the team roster?

In a notable move, Spalletti has excluded several regular players like Leonardo Bonucci, Jorginho, Marco Verratti, and Francesco Acerbi from his first squad. These exclusions are based on various factors including transfers, reduced roles at their respective clubs, and injuries.

What are Italy’s upcoming matches under Spalletti?

Italy is set to compete against North Macedonia and Ukraine in European Championship qualifiers on September 9 and 12, respectively.

What has federation president Gabriele Gravina said about Spalletti?

Gabriele Gravina, the federation president, stated that Luciano Spalletti is deeply committed to everything he values, including his family, his community, his homeland, and soccer.

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1 comment

Mike D September 3, 2023 - 10:52 am

Wow, Spalletti coming back is huge news! didnt see that coming especially after Mancini’s exit. Curious to see how he shakes up the roster.

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