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Spalletti flattered by Azzurri links

Zenit Saint Petersburg boss Luciano Spalletti has admitted his delight at being linked with the Italy job when Cesare Prandelli leaves.

Italian Zenit Saint Petersburg coach Luciano Spalletti is flattered by suggestions he could take over from Cesare Prandelli as Italy boss.

Prandelli is expected to step down from La Nazionale after the World Cup in Brazil next summer and the Italian media have listed Spalletti as one of the top candidates to take over the role.

Spalletti enjoyed a lot of success at Roma between 2005 and 2009 having made his name at Udinese, leading the unfashionable Zebrette to fourth-place in 2004-05. He begun his career by guiding Empoli from Serie C to Serie A.

The 54-year-old took the bold step of leaving his homeland for Russia and Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2009 and has won two league titles there.

"The fact that I am supported by Italian fans after four years abroad is a source of great satisfaction," Spalletti told journalists.

"But I think that the person they want most in charge of Italy is Prandelli and the best thing is for him to stay in charge after the great work he has done.

"It won't be easy to find another coach as good as him. I have another year on my contract here and will stay, even though us coaches often move around."

Other candidates for the Italy job include Roberto Mancini and Juventus boss Antonio Conte.

image: © LaertesCTB

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