Antonio Conte appointed Napoli’s new manager

Antonio Conte

 ROME -- Antonio Conte has been appointed as the new manager of Napoli, signing a three-year deal.

 The former Juventus and Inter Milan head coach, who also managed Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, had been out of work since leaving the North London club in March 2023.

 Speaking to Napoli’s official website, Conte said, “Napoli is a place of global importance. I’m happy and excited by the idea of being on the Napoli bench. I can definitely promise one thing: I will give my all for the growth of the team and the club. My commitment, together with my staff, will be absolute.”

 As a midfielder, Conte made 370 Serie A appearances and started his managerial career with Arezzo in Serie B. He also had spells at Bari and Atalanta before joining Juventus, where he led the club to three consecutive Serie A titles between 2011 and 2014. He also managed the Italian national team during a two-year stint.

 On his return to Serie A with Inter Milan, he guided the club to the Europa League final and their first Scudetto in 11 years.

 Napoli’s president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, said, “I’m very proud that Antonio Conte is the new Napoli manager. Antonio is a top coach, a leader, who I’m sure will be able to start the necessary rebuilding after the end of a cycle which took us to winning the Scudetto last year after many seasons at the top of Italian football. Today, a new chapter in Napoli’s history has been opened.”

 Conte’s appointment is a fresh start for the Naples club after a chaotic 2023/24 season, which saw them finish 10th in Serie A – relinquishing their Scudetto crown – and exit the Champions League in the Round of 16. Rudi Garcia was sacked in November and replaced by Walter Mazzarri, who was then dismissed after three months in charge. Francesco Calzona had finished the season on an interim basis.

 Conte brings a wealth of winning pedigree, having won titles in both Italy and England. But he faces a tough rebuilding job with a side that, last season, looked a shell of the title-winning team.

 Conte has previous experience of revitalising teams: he took Chelsea from 10th to Premier League winners in 2016/17 and injected new life into an Inter Milan team that had previously struggled to compete for the title. Despite not winning silverware, Conte also led Tottenham Hotspur back into the Champions League.

 The squad at Conte’s disposal, however, remains unclear, with Piotr Zielinski leaving the club and Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, key players in Napoli’s Scudetto triumph, reportedly interested in moves elsewhere. Conte will hope a full pre-season with a settled squad of players can pay dividends to instil his methods.

 If the former Juventus manager is to take Napoli back to the summit of Italian football, it will not be through the attacking style Spalletti made popular in his title-winning season. Instead, Napoli fans could expect to see a more pragmatic and defensively minded approach.

 All eyes will also be on his relationship with De Laurentiis. Conte has previously fallen out with club hierarchies, including at Inter Milan, and will be keen to restore his managerial reputation after an acrimonious ending at Tottenham Hotspur.

 Next season's target will be to make Napoli more competitive and to secure Champions League football. Conte is undoubtedly one of the most successful Italian managers of his generation and has proved he can get results with every squad he has coached. Whether his footballing philosophy will please Napoli fans – and whether he can break Inter Milan’s domestic dominance – is still a big unknown.