Italian Antonio Conte was handed the responsibility of reviving Chelsea’s fortunes and bringing the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge when he was named as their new head coach on Monday.
Conte, 46, the head coach of Italy, will move to London on a three-year contract after the June 10 – July 10 European Championship in France.
Conte has long been touted as Chelsea’s first choice to succeed Jose Mourinho as their next permanent manager following the departure of the Portuguese in December after Chelsea made their worst start to a top flight campaign for more than 30 years.
Dutchman Guus Hiddink has been in charge since Dec. 19 but his second stint as interim coach was never going to last longer than the end of this season.
“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,” Conte said in a statement on Chelsea’s website (www.chelseafc.com).
“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’s fortunes have stabilised under Hiddink who took over with the 2014-2015 champions mired in 16th place having won only four of their opening 16 league matches.
Saturday’s 4-0 win at Aston Villa was their 15th unbeaten league match since Mourinho left, but they are still only in 10th place in the table with no chance of retaining their title or winning a trophy this season.
Their 13-year unbroken run in the Champions League will also end, and it is very unlikely they will be in the Europa League next season either.
Conte will be the fifth Italian to manage Chelsea, following previous incumbents Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo.
He played more than 400 games for Juventus and went on to manage the club to three successive Serie A titles from 2012 to 2014.
Born in Lecce, Italy, July 31, 1969
* Made his Serie A debut for his hometown team US Lecce against Pisa aged 16 years, eight months in 1985 as a central midfielder
* Played 89 matches for Lecce over six years, scoring one goal
* Moved to Juventus in 1991, where he played 418 games over 13 seasons, winning five Serie A titles, the Champions League, the Uefa Cup and the Italian Cup
* Represented Italy at the 1994 Fifa World Cup in the United States and the 2000 European Championships in Belgium and Netherlands
* Retired from playing football at the end of the 2003-04 season
EARLY MANAGERIAL CAREER
* First managerial appointment was with Arezzo in the Italian Serie B in July 2006
* Appointed to manage Serie B side Bari in December 2007, leading them to promotion to the top-flight following the 2008-09 season
* Was in charge of Atalanta between September 2009 and January 2010 before joining Siena, who had recently been relegated
* Led Siena straight back into the top-flight after they finished runners up in Serie B
* Signed a two-year to manage Juventus in May 2011, winning the Serie A title for three seasons in a row and two Italian Super Cups
* Resigned as Juventus manager in July 2014
ITALY NATIONAL TEAM
* Named manager of the Italian national team from August 2014 until Euro 2016, replacing Cesare Prandelli
* Won his first game as Italy manager against the Netherlands 2-0
* Sealed Euro 2016 qualification for Italy in October 2015 with a 3-1 win over Azerbaijan
* Italian Football Federation confirmed on March 15, 2016 that Conte would step down as manager after the Euros