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Chelsea appoint Antonio Conte as new manager on three-year deal

Antonio Conte has signed a three-year contract worth £15m to become the new Chelsea manager and will join the club after helming Italy’s Euro 2016 campaign.

The Italian had already announced his decision to step down as his national team’s manager after the European Championship and the former Juventus midfielder and manager has been in talks with Chelsea officials for several weeks and has agreed a £5m-a-year contract, which includes a £5m bonus if he wins the Champions League.

“I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club. 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,” said Conte.

“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.”

Chelsea have already given Conte approval to bring his long-term assistants, Angelo Alessio and Massimo Carrera, with him to Stamford Bridge. Steve Holland, the incumbent assistant first-team coach, is expected to remain on the coaching staff but there could also be roles for Paolo Bertelli, Mauro Sandreani and Conte’s brother, Gianluca, at the London club.

Conte, who led Juventus to three successive titles up to 2014, replaced Cesare Prandelli on a two-year deal after Italy’s group-stage exit at the 2014 World Cup. He will take over a Chelsea team who have endured the worst season of Roman Abramovich’s 13-year ownership, with José Mourinho having been sacked in December and Guus Hiddink having hoisted the reigning champions from the fringes of the relegation zone to the middle of the Premier League table.

Conte will meet the Chelsea board on Monday afternoon to discuss potential signings. He has previously asked the club not to sell Juan Cuadrado to Juventus and wants to make the Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan one of his first signings when he takes over the club in the summer.

The 46-year-old has already given the club a list of players he would like to sign but top of the manager’s wishlist is the retention of a player who has not yet been able to make his mark at the club.
Conte will be the fifth Italian to manage Chelsea, following on from Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo.

The 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.”

The Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, added: “Antonio Conte has a record of consistent success in his career as a manager and as a player. 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.”
-THE GUARDIAN

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