15 things fans should know about potential new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

The lowdown on the Juventus legend who loves mind games and hair transplants.

Antonio Conte in action with Italy.
Antonio Conte Chelsea could bring the Italy manager on board this summer. Image Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Chelsea have wrapped up a deal to bring Italy manager Antonio Conte on board for the start of next season.

Conte isn’t a high-profile name like Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone, who was also linked with Stamford Bridge. 

So here’s the essential info you need in case Conte takes over from Guus Hiddink.

1

Having started his playing career with hometown club Lecce, Conte got his big break when then-Juventus manager Giovanni Trapattoni signed him in late 1991.

He played over 300 games for the Bianconeri in a 13-year stay in which he won five Serie A titles, the UEFA Cup and, in 1996, the Champions League after a penalties win over Ajax.

2

A box-to-box midfielder, Conte also had a keen eye for goal. He could unleash a sublime shot from distance on his day, as you can see from this compilation.

Antonio Conte The Juventus star's best goals.

3

Conte made his name as a manager with Bari, having been appointed coach of the Serie B side in December 2007 with the club staring at relegation.

After guiding them to mid-table, the following 2008-09 campaign saw Bari achieve promotion as champions.

4

Juventus lost out to Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League semi during the Old Trafford mob’s treble-winning season. As part of his defensive duties, Conte has this lovely reducer on Roy Keane to enjoy.

Conte and Keane collide The Juventus man gets the better of his Manchester United foe.

5

The Italian knows all about resurrecting a club’s fortunes. Prior to his arrival as manager in May 2011, Juventus finished seventh for two consecutive seasons. Under Conte, Juve romped to three straight Serie A crowns.

He left the club having won 102 of his 151 games in charge, drawing 34 and losing just 15.

6

Conte is not averse to mind games. One game away from completing an unbeaten Serie A campaign in 2011-12, the Juve boss concocted a fake argument with goalkeeper Gigi Buffon to keep the squad on their toes.

Buffon came in during a team meeting to ask Conte a question about bonuses.

“Shut the fuck up, Gigi, what the fuck are you saying? Don’t say a word,” Conte reportedly replied. “I don’t want to see you anymore. Get out of here! I would never have expected it from you. You don’t know shit, Gigi. You’re the captain and you’re a disappointment to me as well as all these idiots.”

Suitably rattled, his team went on to win the final game of the campaign, 3-1 against Atalanta.

7

Capped 20 times for Italy as a player, Conte was a bit-part player for the Azzuri at the 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000, where he scored Italy’s first goal of the tournament in a 2-1 win over Turkey.

It was a memorable one, though: an improvised bicycle kick from a rebound.

Sublime Conte Antonio Conte scores a bicycle kick.

He didn’t feature in in the final against France which Italy lost 2-1, though It was his only goal at a major tournament.

8

In 2012, Conte became the first manager since Marcelo Lippi in 2004 to lead Juventus to the final of the Coppa Italia. Napoli won 2-0 with goals from Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik.

Monte’s successor Maximiliano Allegri went one better in 2015 with a 2-1 win over Lazio.

9

Conte has an eye for a free transfer, bringing Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba to Juventus for nothing.

The signing of Carlos Tevez, at just £12 million, was also a relative snip. Not that Chelsea need the cash, but could more bargains follow at Stamford Bridge?

10

Conte is a major advocate of hairless treatments, having travelled to the Hairloss Improvement Solutions clinic in Canada to undergo “follicle restoration therapy”. Wayne Rooney may want to have a word before he goes bald for the fourth time.

Antonio Conte before and after follicle treatment.
Before and after Antonio Conte's hair has improved with age. Image Getty

11

Having resurrected Andrea Pirlo’s career during his time with Juventus, the World Cup winner wrote in his autobiography I Think, Therefore I Play: “When Conte speaks, his words assault you. They crash through the doors of your mind. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said: ‘Hell, Conte said something really spot on again today.'”

Michael Carrick said much the same about David Moyes in his autobiography I Done A Book.

12

One of the main reasons Conte left Juventus was reportedly that the club failed to land Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina.

With the Colombian currently on a season-long loan at Juventus from Chelsea, it’ll be interesting to see if Conte still rates the winger.

13

Mario Balotelli playing for AC Milan
Balotelli banished The Liverpool loanee has been out of the Italy team since the World Cup Image Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Conte does not suffer fools gladly. When told by reporters that eternal underachiever Mario Balotelli had informed the press he’s looking forward to Euro 2016, Conte responded: “He can’t wait for what: To watch us on TV or to play in the Euros? It’s up to him, just as all the others, to prove himself. He has to prove a lot, really a lot.”

Balotelli has yet to play for the Azzurri under Conte.

14

The Italian has enjoyed his previous encounters with Chelsea. During the 2012/13 season, Juventus sent the reigning Champions League holders crashing out by following a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge with a 3-0 victory on home soil.

15

Despite his success as player and manager, Conte has endured a curse in European competition since that Champions League win with Juve in 1996.

As a player, he featured on the losing side in three Champions League finals. His record as Juventus manager amounted to just a single quarter-final appearance.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.

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