As great as things have been at Chelsea over the past 18 months, they’ve been equally bad, if not way worse back at the Italian national team, Conte’s previous posting. His replacement, Gian Piero Ventura was a minor disaster as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 50 years. Ventura then even had the cheek to not resign, forcing the Football Federation (FIGC) to sack him and give him his severance check. Needless to say, there is plenty of damage left behind.
FIGC chief Carlo Tavecchio did take the honorable route and resigned not long after. His replacement, announced earlier this week, is Roberto Fabbricini, the current secretary general of Italy’s Olympic Committee, appointed on an emergency basis for at least the next six months after the committee in charge of finding a replacement failed to find a replacement. Oh Italy.
To help Fabbricini out with a Proper Football Man, the legendary Alessandro Costacurta was appointed sub-commissioner and it is he who is now set to recruit the new head coach. Top of his list are two London-based coaches, Antonio Conte and Carlo Ancelotti.
“We have the best researchers, best chefs and even the best Coaches in the world. We can’t make mistakes. I think I’ll have to move quickly. I’ll go to London to talk to Conte. Ancelotti’s also there... Mancini? I know him well. I’ve read that he’s become available, but he’s not the only one that I’ll talk to.
“Until a few years ago, I thought the CT was only a selector. Then I saw Conte at work in France and realised you could also choose someone opposite to that description. Antonio did a fantastic job at the Euros. In short, he can also coach the national team. We won’t have to wait too long, but we have to do things right.
“Our objective is to tear off a page that has done a lot of harm to all of us, even if it wasn’t only Ventura’s fault, and then bring the Azzurri back up to where they deserve to be for their history and tradition.”
-Alessandro Costacurta; source: Corriere della Sera via Football Italia
The FIGC, who have previously played down talk of Conte returning, are clearly sensing an opportunity given Conte’s current Chelsea predicament, and they are under the impression that he might be open to returning already. Conte had talked about eventually returning to Italy and the national team, even, but he didn’t frame in such immediate terms.
The names are the ones you know. Mancini was in Rome but we didn’t contact him, Conte seems eager to wear Azzurro again, Ancelotti opens and closes the door and Ranieri isn’t out either.
“There’s no-one in pole position, we have to evaluate the pros and cons.
“We also have to evaluate the availability of the Federation, and explain to those who will come after us that there will be new governance. Now though we’ll evaluate what to do, along with Costacurta.”
-Roberto Fabbricini; source: Football Italia
Italy have two friendlies scheduled in March (Argentina and England) and one more in June (France), before they begin play in UEFA’s new Nations League scheme. If the FIGC want a new permanent head coach in before the March friendlies, Conte is likely out (he’s not in danger of getting sacked and he was adamant just the other day that he’s not resigning anytime soon).