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Chelsea and Conte part ways; Sarri expected to take over

Antonio Conte

London, July 13: Chelsea have parted company with their Italian manager Antonio Conte after two years at Stamford Bridge, the English Premier League club announced on their website.

The 48-year-old departs Stamford Bridge less than two months after guiding Chelsea to FA Cup final glory against Manchester United.

The news brings to an end many months of speculation over Conte's future at the club.

Former Juventus boss Conte is rumoured to have fallen out with Chelsea's hierarchy over transfer policy, while their disappointing fifth-place finish in the Premier League – just a year after winning the title – fuelled suggestions he would be dismissed.

"Chelsea Football Club and Antonio Conte have parted company," a brief statement on the club website read.

"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."

Chelsea legend John Terry paid rich tributes to Conte in an Instagram post.

Former Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri is the favourite to take over, with the club's top-flight opener a little over four weeks away.

The 59-year-old Sarri, who is a fomer banker, will be Chelsea's ninth full-time manager since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

Sarri, who split his time between banking and playing football before he took up coaching aged 40, has not won a major honour in three years at Napoli but has guided the club to finishes of second, third and second again.

The chainsmoking former Napoli manager -- who will have to restrain himself on the touchline in England where smoking is banned -- was named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2016-17.

Chelsea begin their 2018-19 Premier League campaign on the opening day of the season on August 11 with an away game against Huddersfield Town.

(With inputs from OPTA/Agencies)

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    Story first published: Friday, July 13, 2018, 15:00 [IST]
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