Roberto Mancini has ruled out taking over as the next permanent Manchester United manager in the summer, pledging his allegiance to Italy ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Ralf Rangnick will be in charge of United until the end of the season, at which point he will move into a consultancy role and the club will appoint a permanent successor to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Mauricio Pochettino and Brendan Rodgers are United’s preferred candidates. Rangnick also hasn’t ruled himself out of staying as head coach a little longer than six months. But ex-Manchester City boss Mancini was also surprisingly linked with the job at the end of last month.
The Italian, who guided City to FA Cup success in 2011 and the Premier League title in 2012 - the club’s first silverware in decades - has re-emerged as one of the best coaches in world football following his success with Italy, culminating in winning Euro 2020.
Mancini has now described speculation of a ‘verbal agreement’ as ‘all false’.
He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “A verbal agreement with a Premier League club? All false. My only goal is to get to the World Cup and be able to win it.”
Italy, despite conquering Europe in the summer, must successfully navigate the UEFA playoffs if they are to book a place at the 2022 World Cup next winter. Portugal are among those that stand in their way, ensuring at least one of the last two European Championship winners won’t be in Qatar.
Mancini left the Etihad Stadium in 2013, sacked after finishing second to Sir Alex Ferguson’s United in the Premier League title race and losing the FA Cup final to Wigan. He went on to coach Galatasaray, Inter and Zenit St Petersburg, before taking the Italy job in 2018.