Ancelotti the No. 1 pick to revive Italy's fortunes

MILAN • Italy could have a new head coach as early as Monday after Gian Piero Ventura's reign ended on Wednesday, following his failure to take the four-time champions to next year's World Cup Finals in Russia.

The 69-year-old's fate was sealed after the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) held a crisis meeting in Rome, with former Chelsea and Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti among the favourites to take over and rebuild the Azzurri.

Ventura had refused to resign despite a 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat by Sweden on Monday that saw Italy miss the Finals for the first time since 1958.

According to reports, Ventura will be paid his salary until the end of his contract in June next year, which amounts to approximately €800,000 (S$1.27 million).

FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio later told journalists that a new coach is expected to be named at a special meeting of the FIGC federal council on Monday.

"We are considering big names for the role of coach," he promised.

Ancelotti is seen as the front runner, as the 58-year-old is available, having being sacked by Bayern Munich at the end of September. He has won three Champions League crowns, and with league titles in Italy, England, Germany and France, the Italian would be the right fit after the Ventura fiasco.

A possible return by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini are also being considered.

But opposition to Tavecchio remains, despite promises to rebuild Italian football from grassroots level upwards with Damiano Tommasi, the head of the Italian Players' Union, storming out of the FIGC meeting after the 74-year-old refused to quit.

"There doesn't appear to be the mood for change," the former Roma midfielder told journalists.

"We need credible elections, with new people; we won't solve the problems of Italian football by sacking the coach.

"If not, we'll keep stirring the same soup which has proved indigestible to so many."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2017, with the headline 'Ancelotti the No. 1 pick to revive Italy's fortunes'. Print Edition | Subscribe