Inter turn to Conte to restore past glories

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Inter Milan on Friday announced the appointment of former Chelsea and Italy boss Antonio Conte as coach with the ambition of moving the club out of Juventus’ shadow.

The 49-year-old has signed a three-year contract worth nine million euros ($10 million) plus bonuses with the Chinese-owned club, according to press reports.

Conte was dismissed by Chelsea after a combustible end to the 2017-2018 season when he appeared to lose the players’ trust despite winning the Premier League title the season before.

He replaces Luciano Spalletti who guided Inter into a Champions League berth for a second consecutive year on the final day of the Serie A season last Sunday.

With the 18-time Serie A champions searching for a first trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2011, Conte boasts a powerful pedigree.

He won the first three of Juventus’ eight consecutive Serie A titles and the Premier League and FA Cup as Chelsea boss.

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But during his stay at Chelsea, stories leaked of a difficult relationship with the club’s hierarchy.

“A new chapter is opening in my life,” Conte said. “I can’t wait. I have chosen Inter because of the club it is, for its plans and ambition.”

Inter chairman Steve Zhang added: “I am sure Antonio Conte is one of the best coaches.

“I am sure he will help us to reach our target … to make this club one of the best in the world again.”

Conte had also been linked with a return to Juventus, after his successor in Turin Massimiliano Allegri announced he was leaving the club.

Maurizio Sarri, the Italian who this week won the Europa League with Chelsea, is now hotly tipped for the Juventus hotseat.

Spalletti took over at Inter in mid-2017 having previously coached Zenit Saint Petersburg and Roma.

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But it proved a season of highs and lows with the club eliminated at the group stage of the Champions League in which they were drawn with Barcelona and eventual finalists Tottenham.

They then fell in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Inter snatched fourth place in Serie A, equal on points with Atalanta, but behind the side from Bergamo on head-to-head difference, to edge city rivals AC Milan by just one point in the race for a Champions League place for next season.

Inter announced Spalletti’s departure on Thursday with Zhang paying tribute to the 60-year-old who paid for failing to lift any silverware.

“A coach, a teacher, a friend,” Zhang wrote on Instagram with a photo of himself alongside Spalletti.

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