Two years ago, when Antonio Conte was still the head coach of the Italian national team and heading into Euro 2016, the future Chelsea boss played coy on the rumours linking his name the vacancy at Stamford Bridge. However, he did admit that he missed the routine of club management and confirmed that he would not join another national team after stepping down from the Azzurri.
But with Italy entering full-on CRISIS mode (and not in any ironic way) after their disastrous failed World Cup qualification campaign under Gian Piero Ventura, the newly appointed leadership of their Football Federation set out to find a good man for the job.
Unfortunately for them, just a couple days after they boldly claimed that they were set for talks with Conte, the Azzurri have already moved on from the Chelsea head coach. At least they were quick to take the hint, unlike many other unkillable transfer rumors.
“Antonio Conte has pulled out. As Conte reiterated the other day, he wants to continue working as a coach on a day-by-day basis at club level for at least the next 18 months, the length of his Chelsea contract, so he has pulled out of the running.”
-Alessandro Costacurta, FIGC sub-commissioner; source: Evening Standard
For now, the Italians are set to appoint U21 head coach Luigi di Biagio on an interim basis, while continuing their search with other candidates like Roberto Mancini and Carlo Ancelotti.