Inter Milan appoint Conte as new manager


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Inter Milan have appointed former Juventus and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, the club announced Friday.

Conte replaces Luciano Spalletti, who was sacked earlier this week after two seasons with the club. The Nerazzurri finished fourth in the Serie A standings on the final day of the season thanks to a 2-1 win over Empoli, qualifying for the Champions League.

Conte is also reunited with highly regarded former Juventus chief executive Beppe Marotta. The pair worked closely together to lead Juventus to three consecutive league titles between 2011 and 2014 before Conte left to manage Italy and then Chelsea, where he won the Premier League title in his first season and ended his second with triumph in the FA Cup.

“A new chapter in my life is beginning, I’m really excited,” Conte said in a statement on Inter’s website. “I have chosen Inter because of its history. I was struck by the club’s transparency and the desire to bring Inter back to where it belongs.”

Conte has been out of work since being sacked by Chelsea last summer, due in large part to a lengthy and acrimonious legal battle that ended this month with a Premier League manager’s arbitration tribunal ruling in his favour.

Chelsea have been ordered to pay Conte around £9 million — the amount owed for the final unfulfilled year of his contract at Stamford Bridge — and the Italian, now free to resume his career, has returned to Serie A.

Conte’s blend of touchline passion and winning tactics made him hugely popular with the majority of Chelsea supporters, but his relationship with the board became damaged beyond repair, highlighted by his repeated public and private complaints about transfer policy.

He also clashed with Diego Costa and David Luiz, while others began to grow weary of his methods. In the wake of Chelsea’s FA Cup win in 2018, Willian obscured Conte in a team celebration photograph posted on his Instagram account.

Conte’s refusal to resign unless the final year of his contract was paid in full, coupled with Chelsea’s delay in securing Maurizio Sarri from Napoli as his replacement, created an ugly public standoff that resulted in him leading the first few days of preseason before being sacked on July 13.

Chelsea withheld Conte’s compensation, claiming that several of his actions — including his decision to inform Costa by text message that he was no longer in his plans — had led him to breach his contract.

Meanwhile, sources have told ESPN FC that Conte argued that Chelsea’s delay in sacking him resulted in him missing out on potential job opportunities elsewhere, with Paris Saint-Germain appointing Thomas Tuchel and Real Madrid turning to Julen Lopetegui prior to his departure.

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