Roberto Mancini’s life in football began when he joined Bologna’s academy as a 13 year old. He would make his debut three years later in 1981, becoming the youngest player in Italy's top flight. 

Mancini established himself as a prodigy in his only season at the club from northern Italy. He would finish with 30 appearances and nine goals to his name. Despite his impressive breakthrough season Bologna would end up going down to Serie B as the then 17 year old Mancini was snapped up by Sampdoria. 



In 1982, the 17 year old Mancini completed his 2 million pound move to Sampdoria, beginning a 15-year association with the Genoese club. 



Two years after Mancini’s arrival he was joined by Gianluca Vialli. The two had an immediate connection as they formed what would become an iconic strike partnership, nicknamed I Gemelli del Gol (The Goal Twins). In their first season as a partnership the duo were prolific as Samp triumphed in the Coppa Italia, the first major title of any kind in the clubs history.

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Sampdoria Glory Years



Samp, with the lethal Mancini and Vialli leading the line and with the financial backing of oil tycoon owner, Paolo Mantovani, looked to aggressively build on the sides Coppa Italia success of 1985. 

The following year would see the appointment of former player, Vujadin Boškov as manager as Samp embarked on their greatest ever era as a club. 



Toninho Cerezo, Gianluca Pagliuca and Attilio Lombardo were added to the already stacked Sampdoria line up and they began to defeat all comers. 

Domestically, back to back Coppa Italia wins were clinched in 1988 and 89 while on the European front the side achieved back to back finals in the Cup Winners Cup. The first appearance, an agonising loss to Barca in 1989, was followed by European glory the following season with a win against Anderlecht.


1991 Scudetto and later years at Sampdoria



The pinnacle of Mancini’s time at Samp came with the sides 1990-91 Scudetto win. In the end the title was clinched by five points with Mancini instrumental in a creative forward role, helping Vialli to the  Capocannoniere. 

The 1991/1992 season would culminate with Sampdoria reaching the European Cup final where they were to once again face Barcelona for a shot at European glory. In the end Ronald Koeman’s thunderous free kick denied Mancini and Samp the ultimate prize.

It would be the end of an era as Boskov bowed out after the final. The move would largely spell an end to Samp as a preeminent Italian footballing power. 

During the 1990’s Mancini became more and more involved in the running of the club, often delivering pre match team-talks, attending board meetings and having a say in transfer business. It’s testament to the power Mancini had at the club that when Samp were looking for a new manager the then 27 year old sat on the interview panel for Sven Goran Erikkson’s application for the job.




After 15 years with Sampdoria the now 32 year old Mancini joined Lazio in 1997, reuniting with Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Although no longer the star man in the side Mancini settled in well to life in Rome as he looked to straddle the line between player and coach wherever possible. “He wanted to be a manager even while he was a player. He was the coach, he was the kit man, he was the bus driver, everything.” - Sven-Goran Eriksson

Mancini’s insight and experience was invaluable as Lazio clinched a Scudetto, two Coppa Italia’s and a cup winners cup. In 2001 Mancini officially begins his coaching career as an assistant to Eriksson at Lazio.

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Mancini joined Leicester city on loan in January 2001. After making his debut against Arsenal the 36 year old failed to complete 90 minutes in any of his five appearances for the club. One month after his arrival, Mancini was given leave of absence, citing personal reasons. He called the club on 14 February, informing them that he would not be returning to England. Mancini called time on his 20 year career. 

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Despite consistent success at club level, Mancini never became a regular for Italy. Euro 88 would see him starting for Italy as they made it to the semi-finals before crashing out to the Soviet Union.

Mancini was named in the squad for Italia 90 but was unused by manager Azeglio Vicini as Italy finished third.

Mancini's turbulent international career ended in 1994 after an irate Mancini was informed that he would be not be guaranteed a place on Arrigo Sacchi’s side for USA 94.

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