World Cup winner De Rossi joins Italy’s coaching staff

ROME (AP) — World Cup winner Daniele De Rossi will begin his coaching career this weekend after joining the staff of Italy coach Roberto Mancini on Thursday.

The Italian Football Association said De Rossi signed a contract on Thursday and will meet with the squad on Sunday at the national team’s headquarters in Coverciano for coming World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

“I’m proud to start this new career with the national team and I thank both president (Gabriele) Gravina and Mancini for the trust and for the opportunity,” the 37-year-old De Rossi said.

“It will be emotional to return to Coverciano, which for me means coming back home and finding so many former teammates and friends in the staff and in the group, and I can’t wait to get started.”

De Rossi made 117 appearances for Italy and won the World Cup in 2006. He spent most of his club career at Roma until retiring last year after a brief spell at Boca Juniors.

He has often talked of his plans to coach, and has been keen to visit top coaches to learn from them.

“I will work with enthusiasm, knowing that I am only at the start and I still have so much to learn, but I hope to also be able to give a hand to the squad,” De Rossi added.

De Rossi is contracted until after the European Championship in July.

“I’m very pleased that Daniele is joining our group, I am certain he will be able to give the lads an important contribution and I hope that this first experience will be useful to him for the future,” Mancini said.

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