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Antonio Conte leaves Chelsea: Italian departs Stamford Bridge after two years

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Antonio Conte has left Chelsea
Antonio Conte has left Chelsea

Chelsea have confirmed that they have 'parted company' with manager Antonio Conte after just two years in charge in Stamford Bridge.

The 48-year-old Italian won the Premier League in his first season at Chelsea, and lifted the FA Cup last season in what turned out to be his final act as manager.

Former Juventus and Italy boss Conte signed a three-year contract as Chelsea head coach in July 2016, and was handed an improved, but not extended, deal after winning the title.

Chelsea are 12/1 to win the Premier League next season despite currently being without a manager, but that will be short-lived with former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri set to be named as Conte's replacement.

Speculation has been rife for months, but Conte was still at the helm when the players returned for pre-season training, and it was only on Friday that his departure was confirmed.

Chelsea's short statement read: "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."

That speculation also shrouded his position last season, as Conte did little to hide his dissent over Chelsea's transfer business in the summer of 2017 and winter of 2017-18, making thinly-veiled criticisms of "the club".

Continual Conte rift at Chelsea

And the differences proved to be irreconcilable as Conte's departure after just two seasons was confirmed 10 days before the club's first pre-season friendly of the 2018-19 campaign.

Conte was Jose Mourinho's permanent successor as boss and masterminded a revival from 10th place in 2015-16 to first in his maiden season in English football.

Chelsea beat Mourinho's Manchester United at Wembley in May this year for Conte's second trophy of the spell, after which the Italian said he was a "serial winner" who "can't change", citing his contract as he answered speculation it would be his final match in charge.

A fifth-placed finish in the Premier League, missing out on Champions League qualification and ending up 30 points behind winners Manchester City, did little to strengthen Conte's argument to stay on.

And Chelsea are now looking for a 13th permanent boss of Roman Abramovich's ownership, which began in June 2003.

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