Football: Zenit St Petersburg terminate Roberto Mancini's contract amid Italy interest

Zenit Saint Petersburg head coach Roberto Mancini gesturing on the sidelines during the Europa League match against RB Leipzig on March 8, 2018.
Zenit Saint Petersburg head coach Roberto Mancini gesturing on the sidelines during the Europa League match against RB Leipzig on March 8, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian side Zenit St Petersburg terminated manager Roberto Mancini's contract by mutual consent on Sunday (May 13) after an Italian football official said the 53-year-old was willing to become the country's next national coach.

Mancini, one of the highest-profile foreign coaches to join the Russian Premier League in recent years, signed a three-year contract with Zenit in 2017.

However, the club said the contract, which will come to an end on Monday, had been severed through mutual consent and without any compensation payable.

This month, Italian football federation commissioner Roberto Fabbricini said Mancini had held talks with Italian football officials but that no deal had been reached.

Zenit, bankrolled by Russian energy giant Gazprom, have used their deep pockets to attract foreign managers in the past, including Dick Advocaat, Luciano Spalletti and Andre Villas-Boas.

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. Zenit are currently fifth in the Russian Premier League with one game remaining.

Italy have a managerial vacancy after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked when the four-time champions failed to qualify for this year's World Cup Finals taking place in Russia from June 14 to July 15.