Italy hires Antonio Conte as new coach

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Rome, Italy (4E Sports) – Italy has signed Antonio Conte to a two-year deal as its new coach, taking him through the 2016 European Championship.

Conte, a former Juventus manager, will replace Cesare Prandelli, who resigned after Italy was knocked out of the 2014 World Cup in the group stage.

Carlo Tavecchio, the new president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), opted for Conte after the former midfielder won three Serie A titles in as many years with Juve.

“President Tavecchio and Antonio Conte spoke directly by phone this morning to define the final aspects of the collaboration that will bind Antonio Conte to the FIGC until July 31, 2016,” FIGC said in a statement.

“The new coach shared in the president Tavecchio’s vision to revitalise the national team and the project of training of new Azzurri players, and has a strong commitment towards the technical sector as coordinator of the youth teams,” it added.

Before the hiring, Conte and Italy had been in discussions for weeks but the issue of salary became a stumbling block. The deal pushed through after Puma said it will cover the shortfall in his Conte’s salary.

Puma will bridge a gap of almost 3 million euros between what Conte was earning at the Bianconeri and the maximum the FIGC are willing to pay for the new coach — the same salary Prandelli was earning.

Conte will reportedly be given total responsibility for the senior Italy squad, including the organization of training camps, as well as for the under-21 squad, with almost daily contact with club coaches and Italian players.

Italy start their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Norway in Oslo on Sept. 9 .

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