UPDATE: Marcos Alonso and Tiemoué Bakayoko added belated farewell messages the day after.
The fateful moment which was expected for so long finally arrived. Antonio Conte has been sacked as Chelsea’s head coach and the Italian’s romance with the Blues has come to an abrupt, albeit expected end.
The ending may have been messy, but Conte was one of the most successful head coaches in Chelsea history, and for that, he should be remembered in a positive manner and given the respect he deserves. (Ed.note: unlike in Chelsea’s official statement.)
Antonio Conte has the best win % of any manager in Chelsea's history to take charge of 100+ games pic.twitter.com/C7RjnTvWG0— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) July 12, 2018
Maybe a few years down the line, we’ll look at his time with us as fondly as we do with Carlo Ancelotti. Until then, here are some lovely messages by former and current Chelsea players.
As usual, Captain, Leader, Legend, John Terry was the first to express his gratitude and appreciation for the work done by Conte. Others soon followed suit.
“Thank You Boss [...] Great man, Great manager. I wish you every success in the future.”
Love this man. Thanks for everything Boss. In a time that should have been the most difficult season of my career, Antonio was honest, respectful and there for me whenever I needed him. I loved working and learning from him. Thank you for everything boss. JT
Cesc Fabregas was the first current Chelsea player to tweet about Conte, preceding Chelsea’s official announcement by a good 24 hours.
Thank you Mister for another Premier League title and FA Cup. It wasn’t easy for me to convince you in the beginning but in the end I hope I did you proud! Good luck for the future. #CFC— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) July 12, 2018
Like a good captain, Gary Cahill made sure to thank all the coaches as well:
I would like to wish Antonio and his family best wishes for the future and thank him for helping me and Chelsea FC be successful during his time at the club. A Premiership Title and F.A. Cup winners medals are great memories we all shared together. Thank you Antonio. I wish you and all your coaches all the very best for the future,
I would like to wish Antonio and his family best wishes for the future and thank him for helping me and Chelsea FC be successful during his time at the club. A Premiership Title and F.A. Cup winners medals are great memories we all shared together. Thank you Antonio. I wish you and all your coaches all the very best for the future. #cfc
Vice-captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who was a revelation as a center back in the back-three system under Conte, thanked the boss for having the confidence in him to play that new position.
Despite all the drama, Charly Musonda got his Chelsea debut (and scored his first Chelsea goal) under Conte, and that’s something most players do not forget.
Nathaniel Chalobah also made his debut under Conte, and even though he left last summer, he made sure to thank the boss. Wonderful gesture, Nat!
“Grazie per tutto mister . Gave me the opportunity to make my debut for my boyhood club in a year filled with success. Thank you for everything mister.”
Ola Aina was yet another debutant, making 6 appearances in Conte’s first season. He kept his goodbye short and sweet, but reminded us of the good times with 2016-17’s title celebrations.
We’ll assume the rest of the squad were busy at the World Cup or with training, right, to post at least a token farewell?
All good things must come to an end.
Here’s hoping Maurizio Sarri is able to carry the torch from here on, achieve even greater things and keep the blue flag flying high.