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Attenzione: Conte takes over Chelsea in seven days

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As Jonas Hector's spot kick squirmed through Gianluigi Buffon's hands, Antonio Conte's time in charge of the Italian national team had come to its end. Two years of hard work, from the disappointment of the 2014 World Cup, to the disappointment of a penalty shootout, but plenty of progress and accomplishments to be proud of in between.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing, and a perceived lack of support is a big part of why Conte had decided to return to club football in the first place, but after the past two weeks, he believes the future looks a bit brighter for the famous footballing nation.

"I think that this is a generation which can grow because many of these lads are experiencing a major tournament for a first time and you need games like this to grow. I'm very optimistic for the future of Italian football. Against a strong side, we demonstrated that this is a tough team where all our opponents respected us and respected us a lot."

"The national team gives you emotion and stimuli and I hope this European Championship will leave a legacy, of love for the shirts we were wearing. I think the biggest victory for me is having worked with this group of lads. From the kitmen to the cooks - everybody who was part of this marvellous experience, this is what has given me the greatest satisfaction."

"I had the honour of working with these people who gave me everything. When you do everything, nobody can criticise you at all and these lads went beyond the call of duty, giving absolutely everything and I think people recognise this. You love your country and the shirt you are wearing."

"The only regret I have from this European Championship is these penalties. Nothing else; no regrets. These lads really showed everything.' I don't like to make evaluations, I prefer to leave that to others. What interests me is that I had an incredible experience with these lads, making Italy respected and feared by everyone."

"This is not a goodbye, it is an arrivederci."

-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN

Conte had already spoken previously of his desire to one day return to the Azzurri, but for now, he leaves that shade of blue in the hands of former Torino FC coach Giampiero Ventura. The Royal Blue of Chelsea awaits.

"My future is to go back to working at club level, my future is Chelsea.

"In a few days time the new season will begin. To be honest I would have liked not have had a single day of holiday. That would have meant going forward in the Euros. Now I will take seven days off, I will try and shift a bit of this disappointment at going out of the competition, before then taking the reigns at Chelsea. I know it will be a significant difficult challenge, but that is the sort of challenge that I relish."

"[...] now I have the pleasure to begin this very exciting adventure."

-Antonio Conte; source: Independent

If Conte manages to whip the Chelsea lads into similar fighting shape to what we've witnessed from Italy at Euro 2016, the pleasure will be all ours.

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