Roberto Mancini May 2013Roberto Mancini, the 48-year-old controversial Italian manager of English Premier League soccer club Manchester City, was given his walking papers on Monday with just a pair of games remaining in the current season.

The move didn’t come as a surprise to the team’s fans or to Mancini himself as last year’s league champions have underachieved this season.

City won the Premier League crown on the final day of the 2011-12 season by scoring two goals in injury time to edge out Manchester United on goal difference. However, they couldn’t retain the title this year as United clinched it with a few weeks remaining in the season.

Manchester City also crashed out of the European Champions League for the second year running in the tournament’s group stage and were beaten by lowly Wigan Athletic, 1-0, in the FA Cup Final on Saturday.

Before the FA Cup Final, newspaper reports in England claimed that Mancini would be let go by the club’s rich Abu Dhabi owners if the team lost to Wigan, who sat in 18th place in the Premier League and are facing relegation. Man City officials didn’t deny the rumors, and this upset Mancini. His squad was then beaten with just two minutes to go against Wigan and the writing was already on the wall.

Man City released a press statement which said Mancini and the players failed to deliver on the club’s goals this season except for earning a spot in next season’s European Champions League event. With Mancini leading the club to the FA Cup title in 2011 and the league championship in 2012, City's owners believed the team would win at least one trophy this year, but it failed to deliver.

Mancini was treated like a god by City fans after breaking a 35-year trophy drought with the FA Cup victory two years ago and then winning a league title for the first time in 44 long years. Mancini had plenty of money at his disposal to buy players, but many of them let him down this season by playing below their potential. The team tied games they should have won and this saw them drop crucial points along the way.

Meanwhile, Manchester United kept on rolling and built up a lead that proved to be insurmountable. With just two games to go in the season, Man City will either finish as league runners-up or they could drop down to third place in the standings. Either way, team owners view the season as a lost one.

There’s no doubt that Mancini made some questionable moves during the season by getting into confrontations with some of the team’s best players. He had several encounters with forward Mario Balotelli of Italy before sending him packing to AC Milan in January.

His worst showing was in the Champions League, which is known as the most prestigious tournament in the world, as Man City finished in last place in their group. His constant whining also grated on the nerves of club ownership as Mancini often complained to the press that he needed more money to buy better players, even though they won the league title the year before.

With Mancini gone, assistant manager Brian Kidd will take over the reins for the final two league games. It’s been reported that Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, who currently manages Spanish team Malaga, will be brought in to replace Mancini, who is rumored to be heading to Monaco of the French league.

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