English Premiership

Conte coy on Chelsea switch

Antonio Conte (AFP)
Antonio Conte (AFP)

Rome - Tipped to be joining Chelsea after Euro 2016, current Italy coach Antonio Conte suggested on Monday the Londoners were far from being his only suitors, and that quitting as the national handler was tough.

At a press conference in Udine ahead of Italy's friendly with Spain Thursday Conte suggested matters beyond his control had pushed him into a decision to quit after the June 1-July 10 Euros.

"I felt really good last October when we qualified and I thought at that time I would go on (as Italy boss), but since then certain things became too hard, I came across difficulties," said Conte.

The 1994 World Cup finalist who led Juventus to three Italian titles as coach recently had disagreements with Italian football administrators on scheduling and programming issues.

It was then revealed that the 46-year-old, who took over as Italy coach in August 2014, had officially informed Italian authorities he was standing down.

British and Italian media reports say that struggling Premier League champions Chelsea have since signed an agreement with Conte.

"We'll see what the future holds for me," Conte said Monday.

"Chelsea is not a taboo subject, but I could add several Italian names to that category," he insisted.

"I want to train a club next," he confirmed.

Conte, who was also a beaten finalist as a player at Euro 2000, will oversee Italy in Group E games with Belgium, Sweden and Ireland.

Italy were beaten by world number one ranked team Belgium in a friendly last November, demonstrating the gap between Conte's side and the top European teams.

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