Chelsea manager Antonio Conte dismissed rumours on Friday that he will return to the Italian national team, while reaffirming his intention to honour the last 18 months of his contract with the west London outfit.
The newly appointed commissioner of the Italian Football Federation, Roberto Fabbricini, stoked speculation after identifying Conte as one of three big-name candidates to replace Gian Piero Ventura on Italy’s vacant bench.
Chelsea’s poor run of form has put additional pressure on the 48-year-old, with the Blues dropping points in three of their past four matches – including a shocking 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth.
But Conte said he has no desire to quit the club before the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
“From the start of this season, there have been a lot of speculation and rumours around me. The only thing I can tell you is that I still have 18 months of contract with Chelsea. My intention, my will, is to respect the contract,” Conte told reporters, according to the BBC. “We signed a three-year contract. I think our desire is to continue our work.”
Conte agreed to an improved deal on the heels of last season’s Premier League triumph, but eyebrows were raised when it emerged that the length of the agreement remained unchanged. He has since quibbled about his lack of input in Chelsea’s transfer activity, saying he has done the best he can with the squad available to him.
That may have fuelled Fabbricini’s belief that Conte is interested in a return to his homeland.
“Conte seems eager to wear Azzurro again,” Fabbricini said Thursday.
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