Chelsea appoints Italy boss Conte as new manager

Italy's coach Antonio Conte © Alessandro Garofalo
Chelsea has confirmed that Italy manager Antonio Conte will take over as their new first-team head coach this summer.

The 46-year-old ex-Juventus boss will begin a three-year contract after his country's participation in Euro 2016.

"I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club," he said. "I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that."

"I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the club and the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League. Chelsea and English football are watched wherever you go, the fans are passionate and my ambition is to have more success to follow the victories I enjoyed in Italy."

"I am happy we have made the announcement now so everything is clear and we can end the speculation. I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros."

Guus Hiddink will remain in charge at Stamford Bridge until the end of the season.

Conte enjoyed a productive time with Juventus, winning the Serie A title three years in a row.

He is the fifth Italian to manage Chelsea, following Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto di Matteo.

It's understood Conte has signed an $8 million per year contract, with an $8 million bonus if he wins the Champions League.

Chelsea Director Marina Granovskaia said: "We are very pleased to have recruited one of the most highly regarded managers in world football and we are equally pleased to do so before the end of the current season. This aids our future planning."

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Guus Hiddink, who has done a great job since he joined us in December."

Chelsea's dismal defense of the Premier League title they won in 2014/15 saw Jose Mourinho axed in December. 

While Hiddink has turned things round since taking over, they are still 25 points behind leaders Leicester City with seven games to go and will miss out on Champions League qualification.

Conte made over 400 appearances for Juventus, winning five league titles and a Champions League, and was also capped 20 times by Italy.
He previously coached at Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta and Siena, before returning to Juve in 2011.

After winning the three titles, Conte was appointed as Italy boss in 2014. He guided them safely through qualification for the Euro 2016 with an undefeated record.

“Antonio Conte has a record of consistent success in his career as a manager and as a player," Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck commented.

"We look forward to welcoming him to Stamford Bridge and are confident he will find all he needs to maintain that high standard of achievement."

Conte faces a busy summer when he takes up the reins at Chelsea, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois all believed to be looking to move elsewhere.

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