Antonio Conte has been sacked by Chelsea after months of speculation over his future.
The Italian had a year remaining on his contract but leaves after two seasons in charge, a spell in which he won the Premier League and FA Cup with the west London club.
Chelsea said in a statement: “During Antonio’s time at the club, we won our sixth league title and eighth FA Cup.
“In the title winning season, the club set a then-record 30 wins in a 38-game Premier League season, as well as a club-record 13 consecutive league victories.
“We wish Antonio every success in his future career.”
Sky in Italy reported on Thursday that Conte was no longer head coach and speculation the end was near further intensified when Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas and former Blues captain John Terry paid tribute to Conte on social media.
Thank you Mister for another Premier League title and FA Cup. It wasn’t easy for me to convince you in the beginning but in the end I hope I did you proud! Good luck for the future. #CFC
Confirmation from the club finally came on Friday morning and could pave the way for the arrival of Maurizio Sarri.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis claimed on Wednesday that a deal was almost done, saying: “Sarri is close to being new Chelsea manager. My lawyers are in talks with his lawyers to finalise everything.”
Conte still had 12 months left on a revised deal he signed last summer after delivering the fifth Premier League title since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003.
But the Italian could not build on that first season and his frustration became evident when Chelsea failed to land the signings he wanted to embark on a Premier League title defence.
Conte did little to hide his dissent over Chelsea’s transfer business in the summer of 2017 and winter of 2017-18, claiming “the club decides every single player who comes here”.
Winning the FA Cup by beating Manchester United at Wembley in May proved to be Conte’s last hurrah and though he reminded the club after that triumph that he was a “serial winner”, differences seemingly proved irreconcilable.
Chelsea are now seeking a 13th permanent manager under Abramovich’s ownership.
Maurizio Sarri favourite for Stamford Bridge job