Chelsea have appointed Italy boss Antonio Conte as their new first-team head coach, starting from this summer.
The 46-year-old former Juventus boss will begin a three-year contract after his country takes part in Euro 2016.
“I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that,” he said.
Guus Hiddink, who replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho, will remain in charge of the Blues until the end of the season.
The final of Euro 2016 takes place on 10 July.
Conte, who won the Serie A title in each of his three years as Juventus boss, is the fifth Italian to manage Chelsea, following Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto di Matteo.
“We are very pleased to have recruited one of the most highly regarded managers in world football,” said club director Marina Granovskaia.
“We are equally pleased to do so before the end of the current season. This aids our future planning.”
Conte has the task of rebuilding a side that won the Premier League title last season before imploding this term.
Mourinho’s second spell came to an end on 17 December after a miserable start to the season and what Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo described as “palpable discord” between the Portuguese and his players.
Hiddink restored stability in his second interim spell as boss – the Blues are 10th with seven games to go – but Chelsea will fail to win a trophy and are set to miss out on Champions League football next season.
Conte at Juventus
His stats – courtesy of Opta – make impressive reading:
- Since 1971-72, Conte is the Juventus manager with the highest win ratio in Serie A (72.8%).
- He won 83 out 114 league games as Juventus manager, losing only seven.
- Conte’s Juventus scored in 43 consecutive games (February 2013-March 2014) – a Serie A record.
- Juventus also recorded an unbeaten run of 49 games from May 2011 to October 2012 (with Conte involved in 48 of them) – only AC Milan can boast a longer streak (58 games) in Serie A history.
- Conte won the Scudetto with Juventus in 2013-14, taking 102 points and winning 33 games: both records in a Serie A campaign.
Pirlo and Mancini on Chelsea’s new boss
Former Juventus player Andrea Pirlo wrote this in his autobiography: “Even when we’re winning, Conte comes in and hurls against the wall (and thus my little corner).
“Anything he can lay his hands on… almost always full bottles of water. Fizzy water. Very fizzy water.”
When Conte speaks “his words assault you”, says Pirlo, adding: “They crash through the doors of your mind, often quite violently, and settle deep within you.”
Conte may have “some problems” adjusting to English football but his appointment will prove to be a “good decision”, says former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.
“It is difficult when a manager changes championships,” Mancini, now in charge at Inter Milan, told BBC Sport.
“It is important that he knows the league very well and very quickly. Probably he could have some problems at the start of his job.”
Conte is a former Italy midfielder who made more than 400 appearances for Juventus, winning five league titles and a Champions League.
He won 20 caps for his country and was part of the squad beaten by France in the final of Euro 2000.
After spells coaching Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta and Siena, Conte returned to Juve in 2011, guiding them to the Serie A title at the first attempt.
However, he was then charged with failing to report attempted match-fixing during his time as coach of Siena.
Conte pleaded his innocence but was banned for 10 months – a sentence that was reduced to a four-month touchline suspension.
Juventus retained their title despite Conte’s absence and won their third in succession the following season before his exit in 2014 to take over as Italy boss.
Trouble on the horizon?
Despite serving that touchline ban, the issue remains an ongoing concern for the soon-to-be Chelsea manager.
Conte faces criminal proceedings after being accused of “sporting fraud”, with a trial due to start in Italy this week.
Conte, who has always denied wrongdoing, is among 104 defendants.
He is likely to be fined if found guilty, according to his lawyer Leonardo Cammarata, who added Conte’s reputation would be “seriously damaged”.