In just over a week, Manchester City FC arrive on Canada's west coast for their Herbalife World Football Challenge friendly versus Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Bell Pitch at Empire Field. The coaching staff in place at the English Premier League (EPL) giants is a blend of top-level experience from the recognized soccer nations of England and Italy.
In our six-part series on 'The Citizens', we take a closer look at the men who aim to lead City to success in the EPL and the UEFA Champions League in the 2011-12 season.
With a season-and-a-half under his belt as City manager, Roberto Mancini led the Northwest English club to their best-ever finish of third place in the EPL last season, and with it, UEFA Champions League 'Group Stage' qualification. In May, he led the club to their first English FA Cup title since 1969. In season 2009-10, Mancini set a previous club-best season mark of fifth place in the EPL and a spot in the UEFA Europa League.
When City appointed the 46-year-old on December 19, 2009, they acquired a manager that led Internazionale to three consecutive Italian Serie A championships and two Coppa Italia titles, with Mancini winning 62 per cent of his 226 matches in charge of the 'Nerazzurri'. It was in the Coppa Italia that Mancini had success in his first two managerial roles at Fiorentina and Lazio.
Mancini's playing career was also illustrious. A striker by trade, he made more than 700 domestic and European appearances and scored a total of 206 goals for Italian clubs Bologna, Sampdoria, and Lazio. This included two Serie A titles, six Coppa Italia winner's medals, two European Cup Winners’ Cup titles, and a European Super Cup title. Mancini also made 36 international appearances for Italy and a further 26 appearances for his country at the U-21 level. The striker ended his playing career following a very brief spell with English club Leicester City in 2001.
The Italian's coaching staff at City includes two recognized named of the English game in Brian Kidd (assistant manager) and David Platt (first team coach). Kidd is well known in Manchester soccer circles, having played for both City and arch-rivals Manchester United, where he helped them become the first English club to win the European Cup (now UEFA Champions League) in 1968. A former manager at Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers, Kidd finished his playing career in the old North American Soccer League, where he had spells with Atlanta Chiefs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and Minnesota Strikers.
In the mid-1980's and 1990's, Platt was a well-known face to English and Italian soccer fans as a goalscoring midfielder. In a playing career that included spells at Aston Villa, Juventus, Sampdoria, and Arsenal, Platt will always be remembered by England supporters for his magical winning goal against Belgium in the knockout stages of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. Before joining City, Platt was manager of Sampdoria, Nottingham Forest, and the England U-21 squad.
Mancini's coaching staff also includes fellow Italians Attilio Lombardo and Fausto Salsano. Lombardo had a fine career as a winger in Italy with Sampdoria, Juventus, and Lazio, while he also had a spell in England with Crystal Palace. Salsano spent the majority of playing career with Sampdoria, where he played alongside Mancini at the Genoa-based club. Fitness coach Ivan Carminati worked in the same role at Lazio, Internazionale, and England before joining City, while goalkeeping coach Massimo Battara played with Mancini at Bologna and Sampdoria before serving as his goalkeeping coach at Internazionale.
On Monday, July 18, at 7 p.m. PT, Vancouver Whitecaps FC host this year’s English FA Cup winners, Manchester City FC, in an international friendly match as part of this year's Herbalife World Football Challenge. Fans can purchase tickets at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, or Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS (1.866.646.2277).