Italy coach Conte cool over Chelsea speculation

Date published: Monday 21st March 2016 4:13

Antonio Conte: No comment on Chelsea job

Italy boss Antonio Conte has refused to comment on reports he will become Chelsea’s new manager after Euro 2016.

The 46-year-old Conte announced last week he will step down from his position with the national team in the summer and he has been heavily linked with the Stamford Bridge post.

Reports in Italy have claimed that Conte has agreed terms to become Chelsea boss next season and a deal will be announced in due course.

And earlier this month former Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli revealed he was “really close” to becoming Chelsea’s new boss, but missed out to Conte.

Sampaoli told Argentine radio Vortex: “Now I can say that I was really, really close to becoming the new coach of Chelsea.

“I was about to be their new coach. I had this meeting with Chelsea’s owner and he told me that I was the first option at that moment.

“But then Conte appeared and it became a competition between us it was him or me.

“Unfortunately, Chelsea have chosen Conte over me. It¹s a real shame for me, because I was so excited about coaching a Premier League club.”

Conte however on Monday refused to confirm the reports and claims he is focused on the build-up to the European Championships.

“At this moment, nothing interests me,” said Conte in the build-up to Thursday’s friendly with Spain. “I’m the coach of the national team and it’s an experience which has taught me so much.

“It’s been a fantastic, extraordinary experience and I’ve always envied coaches who have taken part at a World Cup or a European Championship.

Conte, whose contract ends after Euro 2016 in France, said he had been asked to clarify his position by Italian Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio.

“I have thought about it and weighed up my decision and when I had no more doubts, I informed the president – the one who chose me and wanted me here,” he added.

“I feel a great desire to work. I’m excited about the competition in June, I am raring to go.

“These are experiences that happen once in a lifetime and I feel a great responsibility.”

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