Mancini speaks, but will Figo listen?

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In the end it was a cry for help rather than a full-blown attempt at professional suicide.

That’s the way Roberto Mancini came across as he spoke for the first time about his public meltdown on Tuesday evening after Inter’s exit from the Champions League.

The 43-year-old was given a chance to pout... sorry, put his side of the story to his old friend and former Sampdoria team-mate Gianluca Vialli and 1982 World Cup hero Paolo Rossi on a Sky Sports Italia show 48 hours after the event.

As well-groomed as ever, impeccably dressed in dark suit, set off with natty orchid-coloured scarf, Mancio was back in his all-confident, master-of-the-universe persona as he entered the studios.

However, he had just come from a different dressing down, this one from his employer Massimo Moratti and clearly having been given a good wrap across the knuckles in the headmaster’s office, he wasn't in the mood to shoot his mouth off. For once.

As the mild-mannered Vialli and Rossi got the embarrassing stuff out of the way first, viewers had to reach for the remotes and crank up the volume as Mancini began muttering about it being “one of those things and that words are said in the heat of the moment…”  and basically it hadn’t been the smartest move and could we move on to something else please.

When Rossi tried to pry a little further into the reasoning behind his outburst, Mancini’s puss was so sour that Rossi just nodded and averted his eyes to the floor.

Vialli tried a different tack, asking his old mate what he thought of English football, a kind of “Nudge, nudge, are you off to Chelsea?”

Mancini, a very good tennis player by all accounts, returned with a deft “English clubs have great spirit” platitude about the English game.

Rossi whispered something about Jose Mourinho which drew another stern look, forcing little Paolo to stare at the table.

That left Vialli to take the lead on digging the dirt on whether Mancini hates Luis Figo’s guts – though this had to be deciphered from the kind of long monologue that Italians invariable go into when they can’t actually get to the point.

And thank heavens, we finally had a glimpse of what might be hiding in the cupboard of Mancini’s psyche as he grumbled about the need to have just one leader in the dressing room. In other words, Mancini is used to getting his way and some people better understand that pronto.

That means you Mr Figo, once of Barcelona and Real Madrid, World Player of the Year in another life, married to a stunning Swedish model, but who refuses to come on as a substitute when all is lost in the biggest game of the season.

And while you're at it, you can throw in Patrick Vieira, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hernan Crespo too. It’s all about egos and when they come crashing down it can be painful viewing – God help us when Mourinho takes over.