Spalletti would be honoured to coach Russia

Luciano Spalletti, the Italian coach of Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg, has expressed an interest in working with the Russian national team, saying he was honoured to be mentioned among the possible candidates.

"For me it would be a real pleasure to coach Russia, it would be a great honour for me, [although] I know it would be a really tough job," Spalletti, who has led Zenit to two consecutive domestic league titles, was quoted as saying by the club's website.

The Russia job became vacant after Dutchman Dick Advocaat's departure following the team's failure to advance past the group stage at Euro 2012 last month.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Wednesday the Russian FA would name a new national coach by July 20.

Several media outlets had reported that former England manager Fabio Capello was expected in Moscow on Thursday for talks about coaching Russia.

Asked to comment on his fellow Italian, Spalletti said: "If you take into account his experience, personality and results [Capello] is one of the best in the world. No doubt about that."

Many Russian football experts though have said Spalletti would be an ideal person to coach Russia because, unlike other high-profile foreigners in the frame, he already has full knowledge of the players and the state of the Russian game.

However, Alexei Miller, the head of Russian energy giant Gazprom - Zenit's main sponsors - said recently that he would oppose lending Spalletti to the national team or having the Italian combine the two jobs.

"I would think about the difficulties of coaching the national team when I had to face them," Spalletti said. "But if my boss Miller has made such a decision, I just do what he says."