Italy confirms coach Conte’s departure post-Euro

Rome, March 15 (IANS) Italian football association (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio on Tuesday announced that the national team’s head coach Antonio Conte will quit after the Euro Championship to be held in France between June 10 and July 10.

The announcement came one day after the FIGC executive committee met Conte, who is in charge of Italy since August 2014, to discuss his future with the national team.

Conte, 46, has been heavily linked with the Chelsea job and this move increases the prospect of him taking over at the London club.

“Antonio Conte told me that at the end of the European Championship his experience will end,” Tavecchio declared in FIGC website.

“He longs to hear the call of the pitch and of daily work, which is understandable.”

Conte is a former Italy midfielder who made over 500 appearances for Italian champions Juventus in his playing days, winning five league titles and a Champions League.

He won 35 caps for his country and was part of the squad that was beaten by France in the final of Euro 2000.

After spells coaching Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta and Siena, Conte returned to Juventus as coach in 2011 and won Serie A at the first attempt, with his side going unbeaten throughout the season. His side retained the Serie A title for the next two seasons.

Chelsea have been searching for a new permanent manager since sacking Jose Mourinho in December following a dismal run of results.

Dutchman Guus Hiddink was appointed on an interim basis but was not considered as a long-term replacement. Instead, Conte moved into pole position for the role after holding talks with owner Roman Abramovich in Monaco.

However, FIGC said it will hire its next coach at the appropriate moment. Bologna coach and AC Milan legend Roberto Donadoni and Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri have been mentioned as possible replacements for Conte.

“We will make evaluations with serenity. For now it’s time to acknowledge this and have to deal with a person who has recovered the image of the Italian national team, his commitment and sacrifice,” said Tavecchio.

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