Chelsea manager Antonio Conte sacked

Napoli star Jorginho

Napoli star Jorginho

Chelsea have sacked manager Antonio Conte after two years in charge.

Conte took training when some of the Chelsea squad returned for pre-season this week but has always been expected to be replaced this summer.

"I wish you every success in the future", he wrote.

Aurelio De Laurentiis said the transfer did not depend on whether or not outgoing Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri finalised terms to take over from Antonio Conte at Chelsea, despite confirming the deal was close to completion.

His intense training methods angered senior players and he alienated the board with disparaging treatment of Spanish striker Diego Costa and constant carping over the club's failure to replace top players with those of similar ability.

Terry, who won the title with Conte in 2016/2017 campaign, took to Instagram to pay tribute to his old boss.

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Chelsea released a short statement which was less than 60 words, which failed to thank the manager for his contributions and which has been slammed as classless by many fans.

Nearly every top-class manager, available and unavailable, has been linked with Conte's job but in the past month or so, Maurizio Sarri has become the hot favourite.

Sarri has agreed a three-year contract worth €6.4m per season and his appointment is expected to be confirmed shortly by the west London club.

The chain smoking former Empoli manager - who will have to restrain himself on the touchline in England where smoking is banned - was named Serie A Coach of the Year in 2016-17.

Conte led Chelsea to a brilliant title triumph in his first year after inheriting a team that finished 10th the previous season.

In any event, the working relationship between Conte and Chelsea is over - as soon as that is made public by the club, the appointment of Sarri, with Blues legend Gianfranco Zola as part of the backroom team, will nearly certainly follow shortly after.

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