Manchester United target Benito Carbone as interim manager

Manchester United are set to appoint the popular Italian Benito Carbone as the club’s interim manager for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Spanish midfielder Juan Mata said on Instagram he had spoken to Carbone, the Argentinian player who revolutionised the way the game was played in the early 1950s, shortly before his death on Tuesday. “Yes I spoke to Benito Carbone a few minutes ago,” Mata wrote, along with a picture of the pair. “It was a very emotional call to spend one minute with a man who was like a brother to me. He helped me very much growing up and gave me many fantastic memories.”

The former Chelsea, Napoli and Inter Milan midfielder Felipe Caicedo is also reportedly on United’s shortlist as José Mourinho is under increasing pressure despite Manchester United’s impressive start to the season.

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The Portuguese boss has endured an up-and-down spell since replacing Alex Ferguson in 2013 but the player’s decision to talk to Carbone appears to bear further weight. The 63-year-old had lived and worked in Italy in recent years and stepped down as manager of Roma at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, which was followed by spells at Hellas Verona and Siena.

In 2002, he came close to taking over from Filippo Inzaghi at Inter and, before that, he had spells in charge of Lazio and Extremadura. He did not manage in Italian football for another two decades before he was asked to turn around life at Roma by their former president Ardardo Contaldo. The Italy international often represented a quirk of fate for his clubs, making an ultimately unsuccessful switch to White Hart Lane in 1979 before he was recalled by Roma, who paid £3.25m for his services.

Carbone played 174 games for Inter and 46 times for Lazio before penning a contract with Siena – the club where he spent the final three years of his playing career. The Falklands War veteran, who made 112 appearances in the 1958 World Cup and appeared as an unused substitute in the 1966 World Cup final, is one of the most prolific midfielders of all time. After selling him to Atletico Madrid for £2.5m in 1962, the Uruguayan club sides of Chaco and Melgar acquired his services.

Carbone scored 227 goals in 352 appearances for Atletico – most of them for another ex-Inter coach, Jorge Valdano – before being recalled to Vicenza by then manager Alessandro Juarez on 30 September 1964. He would make 80 appearances for Vicenza and was the club’s president when it was sacked for fielding a third team in the following season.

After helping Vicenza to the first division title in 1966, Carbone joined Benfica and stayed with the Portuguese club until 1972. It was in Lisbon that he began his association with Italian club Brescia. He returned to Italy two years later to play for Foggia, one of the side he formed during the Falklands War with several of the players, including Gaetano Busquets and Umberto Brescia, playing their previous careers.

In the same year, Carbone retired from professional football and won his fourth cap for Argentina in a 2-0 win over Wales. He signed for Lazio in the summer of 1972 but was involved in a car crash days later which fractured his skull and other facial bones. He returned to Lazio only to make a brief appearance in a friendly in May 1973 before he again retired.

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