Antonio Conte will give up his role as Italy manager after Euro 2016 in the summer, to takeover at Chelsea. The 46-year-old is claimed to be Roman Abramovich’s top choice to become Chelsea manager replacing the current interim manager, Guus Hiddink.
The president of Italian Football Association, Carlo Tavecchio, confirmed on Tuesday that Conte will step down from his post as Italy’s manager after the European Championship.
‘Conte will leave the national team after the European Championships. He hears the call of the pitch and of daily work, which is understandable’, said Tavecchio.
Chelsea also had Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone and current Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri, in contention to take over from Hiddink. Former Chile boss, Jorge Sampaoli claimed that he had a chance to manage Chelsea but lost the job because his English wasn’t good enough.
The 56-year-old stated that he was Abramovich’s first choice ahead of Conte. ‘I had a meeting with Chelsea’s owner and he told me that I was the first option,’ he told Radio Vorterix.
‘I was about to be their new coach. But then Conte appeared and it became a competition between us. It was him or me. I needed some time in order to improve my English but this kind of club doesn’t give you that time.’
Sampaoli stepped down as Chile coach in January because of issues with the Football Federation. The manager had helped Chile won their first ever international tournament, when they lifted the Copa America last year.
The former Chile coach could have had the needed impact at Stamford Bridge but, Conte has emerged as the favourite and most likely to become Chelsea boss next season. This has also been confirmed by England manager Fabio Capello who disclosed that the Italy manager is preparing for his task at Chelsea.
Speaking to Fox Sports, he said, ‘Conte is preparing for Chelsea. He has the time to arrive and train Chelsea in the best way, as this is an important club.’
Capello also lend some advice to soon-becoming Blues’ coach, ‘I think the most important thing will be the team he is able to put on the field,’ he added.
‘He needs defenders and there aren’t that many around. His communication with the players will also be fundamental. I myself had a difficult experience in Russia where I always had to speak through a translator.’