Serie A news

Mancini plays down Napoli speculation

May 17, 2013
By ESPN staff

Roberto Mancini has dismissed claims he is set to take charge at Napoli, although he suggested he would be open to coaching the club.

Roberto Mancini
GettyImagesRoberto Mancini said he had gone to Naples for pizza, sun and sea

Mancini, dismissed by Manchester City following the FA Cup final defeat to Wigan, was seen in Naples this week, sparking speculation he could replace current Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri.

However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian denied he was in the area to talk to club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

"I'm here for the pizza because the pizza in Naples is very good," he said. "There is also the sun and the sea. Really, I am here for personal reasons."

He also said that Napoli are "a great team with a great coach", but he did indicate that he would be more than happy to lead the Partenopei should the opportunity arise.

"It is clear that every coach aspires to sit on the bench of a team like Napoli," he said. "Never say never."

Interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez, who is set to take charge of the Blues for the final time on Sunday, also suggested an interest in the job this week.

Speaking to reporters in Italy after Chelsea's Europa League victory over Benfica, the former Inter Milan coach said: "Italy is a country I like a lot, but for now I have to enjoy this victory."

Asked about Napoli, he added: "It is certainly true to say that they are a very strong team, like many in Serie A. I would like to return to Italy because I really like your passion for football."

Former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has also been linked with Mazzarri's job.