‘It wasn’t easy..’: Former Sunderland manager now claims he rejected move to Saudi Arabia

Paolo Di Canio has stated that he turned down the opportunity to relocate to Saudi Arabia this summer.

In an interview with La Stampa, the former Sunderland manager said that he was offered the chance to work with Roberto Mancini for the Saudi Arabia national team.

Di Canio has primarily worked as a commentator since leaving Wearside. After winning League Two with Swindon Town, he was hired as Martin O’Neill’s replacement in March 2013.

Despite winning consecutive games against Newcastle United and avoiding relegation from the Premier League, Di Canio was fired after only six months owing to his contentious coaching techniques.

Di Canio was associated with a variety of opportunities, including positions at Bolton Wanderers and Rotherham United, but he never returned to management.

He has now stated that he could have joined Mancini in the Middle East but instead ‘followed his heart’ and declined the offer.
“I didn’t just say no to oil money, because it would have been an important experience in an environment that wants to grow and establish itself like I do myself,” he told the Spanish newspaper La Stampa.

“Mancini didn’t offer me a minor role; he wanted me to be a second coach on the field, training and developing the players.”


“His courtship made me proud, especially because we’re not particularly close: a few games of padel, a chat, and not much else, so if he thought about me, it’s because he believes in my ideas and my work.”

“I’d like to thank him; it wasn’t an easy decision.” I thought about it for a long time, and in the end, I decided to follow my heart.”


Paolo Di Canio sacked: Sunderland dismiss controversial Italian just five  games into the season | The Independent | The Independent


Di Canio rejects Saudi Arabia.

It’s unknown why Di Canio chose not to join Saudi Arabia, although he wouldn’t have been the first former Sunderland player to do so.

Jordan Henderson finalized his controversial move to Al-Ettifaq in July, prompting England fans to boo during their recent friendly against Australia. Max Power also departed Wigan for Saudi Arabia, while Isaac Lihadji left the Black Cats to join Al-Duhail in Qatar.

Given his high profile and Italy’s Euros success, Mancini’s appointment was one of many decisions that were criticized.

There is little doubt that Saudi Arabia will continue to dominate our transfer windows next summer, with some even larger players – and more Brits – accepting huge pay cheques abroad.

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