London - Antonio
Conte's two year tenure as Chelsea manager which began with a bang last
year after winning the Premier League title ended sourly on Friday with
the club announcing they had parted company with him.
The 48-year-old Italian had been seen as vulnerable despite winning
the FA Cup last term having fallen out with both the board and senior
The former Italy national coach returned to take training this week
but the writing was on the wall and the drawn out process was reportedly
due to how much compensation the club should pay Napoli for his likely
successor Maurizio Sarri.
"Chelsea Football Club and Antonio Conte have parted company," the club said in a terse statement.
"During Antonio's time at the club, we won our sixth league title and eighth FA Cup.
"In the title winning season, the club set a then-record 30 wins in a
38-game Premier League season, as well as a club-record 13 consecutive
"We wish Antonio every success in his future career."
Conte leaves with the best win percentage 65.1% of any of Chelsea's managers in the Premier League era.
Former banker Sarri, 59, will be Chelsea's eighth manager inside a
decade as Russian owner Roman Abramovich has never shown a sentimental
side to his nature regarding them, no matter the trophies they won the
preceding season as Roberto di Matteo found just months after delivering
Abramovich's holy grail the Champions League.
Conte - who had a year to run on his contract - is seen to have
contributed to his own demise by falling out both with the players and
the board as the sheen of the title victory quickly disappeared.
His intense training methods angered senior players and he alienated
the board with disparaging treatment of Spanish striker Diego Costa and
constant carping over the club's failure to replace top players with
those of similar ability.
However, while present
players may have had issues with Conte, former Chelsea legend John
Terry, who left after the league title winning campaign had nothing but
praise for him.
"Thank You Boss," Terry posted on Instagram alongside a photo of the
two of them holding the Premier League trophy. "Great man, Great
manager. I wish you every success in the future."
Sarri has been favourite to succeed his compatriot after impressing
as manager of Serie A side Napoli, who have replaced him with former
Chelsea handler Carlo Ancelotti.
Sarri, who split his time between banking and playing football before
he took up coaching aged 40, has not won a major honour in three years
at Napoli but has guided the club to finishes of second, third and
The chain smoking former Empoli manager - who will have to restrain
himself on the touchline in England where smoking is banned - was named
Serie A Coach of the Year in 2016/17.
The main reason for the prolonged saga has been compensation.
Conte is due a reported £9 million if he remains out of
work for the season and with the major jobs such as Real Madrid and the
Italy national post - which he occupied for two years till after Euro
2016 - filled it is likely he will sit the year out.
Napoli are also expecting compensation of around £4.5 million for
Sarri, who is under contract even though he is no longer their coach.
Sarri is believed to have agreed to bring former Chelsea favourite
Gianfranco Zola - whose managerial career has stalled after a series of
failures - along as one of his backroom staff.
Sarri has also presented a list of players he would like to sign.
They reportedly include Brazil-born Italy international midfielder
Jorginho from Napoli, CSKA Moscow's Russian playmaker Aleksandr Golovin
and Italian defender Daniele Rugani from Juventus, the side that edged
Napoli in the Serie A title race.
Factfile on Antonio Conte following his departure from Chelsea on Friday:
Name: Antonio Conte
Date of birth: July 31, 1969
Birthplace: Lecce, Italy
Married: Elisabetta Muscarello
Children: One daughter, Vittoria
Honours (all with Juventus)
Serie A titles (5): 1994–95, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03
Italian Cup (1): 1994/95
Champions League (1): 1995/96
UEFA Cup: 1992/93
Italian Super Cup (4): 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003
Caps (1994-2000): 20 (2 goals)
Selected for both the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000 squads in which Italy reached the final of both.
2006-07 - Arezzo
2007-09 - Bari
2009-10 - Atalanta
2010-11 - Siena
2011-14 - Juventus
2014-16 - Italy
2016-18 - Chelsea (ENG)
Serie A titles (3): 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14
Italian SuperCup (2): 2012, 2013
Premier League (1): 2016/17
FA Cup: 2018