Antonio Conte to Chelsea: Italy exit after Euro 2016 confirmed paving way for Chelsea move

The 46-year-old has been widely tipped as Roman Abramovich’s choice to replace Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge

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The Independent Football

Antonio Conte has moved a step closer to being appointed as Chelsea manager following confirmation from the Italian Football Federation that the Italy coach will stand down at the end of Euro 2016.

Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, has settled on Conte as the permanent successor to Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in December, after being impressed by the former Juventus coach’s reputation for discipline and repeated success in his time in charge of the Turin giants.

The Independent reported in December, before Mourinho left, that Conte had emerged as Abramovich’s favoured candidate ahead of the more widely tipped Diego Simeone and Massimiliano Allegri.

Carlo Tavecchio, the president of the Italian federation, has now confirmed that Conte will vacate his post following Italy’s involvement at the European Championship in France this summer.

“Antonio Conte has told me that his experience with Italy will end after the Euros,” Tavecchio told Sky Italia. “He misses the training pitch and working with players every day. That’s understandable.”

Conte succeeded Cesare Prandelli as Italy coach in the wake of the Azzurri’s group stage elimination at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Having won every major honour as a player with Juventus, including five Serie A titles and the Champions League in 1996, Conte replicated that success during his three-year spell in charge of the club between 2011 and 2014, leading them to three successive Scudetti.

The Italian has been learning English ahead of a move to the Premier League. Despite Chelsea suffering Champions League elimination at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, Conte is known to be determined to take on the challenge of reviving the club, with his appointment as successor to interim coach Guus Hiddink expected to be confirmed before the end of the season.