Italian Conte to become next Chelsea coach

London, April 4 (IANS) Outgoing Italy football team head coach Antonio Conte was on Monday confirmed as the next manager of English champions Chelsea.

Conte signed a three-year contract. He will begin work with Chelsea following his country’s participation in this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament.

The 46-year-old said in a statement on Monday: “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.”

“I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the club and the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League.”

Before taking the Italy job, Conte had a successful spell with Italian champions Juventus, leading them to three-consecutive Serie A titles. Conte also played more than 400 games for Juventus before taking over as the coach.

He had played 20 times for his country including a semi-final appearance in the 1994 World Cup and a quarter-final of Euro 2000.

“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,” Conte added.

“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.”

Conte will be the fifth Italian to manage Chelsea, following on from Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo.

Chelsea’s director Marina Granovskaia said in the statement: “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.”

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