Chelsea announce Conte departure

Chelsea have officially announced the departure of Antonio Conte from the Premier League club.

It was been reported all week that Conte was on the verge of leaving his post as head coach of the Blues, with Maurizio Sarri close to being appointed as his successor.

Conte was reported to have left the club on Thursday, after two seasons at Stamford Bridge.

And a club statement on Friday, confirmed the news, saying: “Chelsea Football Club and Antonio Conte have parted company.

“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 league victories.

“We wish Antonio every success in his future career.”

The Italian had two contrasting campaigns at the helm as he over a team that finished 10th in the Premier League as defending champions and turned them around immediately to reclaim the title in 2016/17.

That success was helped by prolific striker Diego Costa, who scored 20 goals and provided eight assists. However, Costa had a falling-out with Conte ahead of the 2017/18 season and he didn’t play for the Blues again as he went AWOL in order to force a move to his former club Atletico Madrid.

The Spain international’s departure appeared to have been the beginning of the end for Conte, whose relationship with the Chelsea board deteriorated throughout last term, especially after the sale of star midfielder Nemanja Matic to title rivals Manchester United, a move which Conte apparently did not sign off on.

The off-field controversies bled onto the pitch and the west Londoners flattered to deceive. They eventually stuttered to a fifth-placed finish in the league, which has led to Conte’s departure even though he did clinch the FA Cup title.

The Blues are now expected to appoint Sarri, who recently left Napoli, which led to a contract wrangle with the Italian club, although the saga is nearing a conclusion.

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