Special to Sports News Highlights

(SNH) — After leaving Tottenham in March 2023, Antonio Conte will make his return to Italy to manage Napoli, the club recently announced.

Conte signed a three-year contract that will run through June 30, 2027.

Napoli had a poor Serie A title defense – finishing 10th in the standings after winning the scudetto under Luciano Spaletti a year ago.

“Napoli is a place of global importance,” Conte said. “I am happy and excited at the idea of sitting on the blue bench. I can certainly promise one thing: I will do the utmost for the growth of the team and the club. My commitment, together with that of my staff, will be total.”

Conte began his managerial career with Bari in 2006 before making his name with Juventus in 2011. He led the Bianconeri to an unbeaten season in his first year at the helm which marked the start of a dynasty. Juventus went on to win nine straight Serie A titles – including three under Conte’s watch.

The Italian also led Inter to their first scudetto in over a decade in the 2020-21 season.

Conte didn’t only have success in Italy though as he led Chelsea to an English Premier League title and a FA cup in his two-year stint with the club. He also led the Italian national team to the quarterfinals in Euro 2016 despite having one of the worst Italy sides in decades in terms of talent.

“I’m very proud that Napoli’s new coach is Antonio Conte,” Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said. “Today opens a new, important cycle in Napoli’s history.”

Conte’s appointment has convinced star Khvica Kvaratskhelia to stay at the club. Napoli striker Victor Osimhen is rumored to leave for the Premier League, but if Conte can convince him to stay – the club can realistically challenge for the title next season since they won’t be participating in any European competitions. Osimhen scored 17 goals in all competitions this season after netting 31 goals the year prior.

Napoli went through three different managers last season. Rudi Garcia was Spaletti’s initial replacement last summer, but he was fired just three months into the season. Walter Mazzari replaced Garcia but was sacked in February – forcing Slovakia manager Francesco Calzona to manage the club for the remainder of the season.

Conte’s stability and leadership should lead to a much-improved campaign next season.

Among coaches who have managed at least 15 games in the history of Serie A which dates back to 1929-1930, Conte has the highest win percentage at 68%.

Elsewhere in Serie A, former Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Italiano has been hired as Bologna’s manager and will lead the club in their first UEFA Champions League appearance for the first time since 1964-65.

Italiano will replace Thiago Motta who is expected to take the job at Juventus. According to Fabrizio Romano, Motta will sign a three-year contract through June 2027 next week. Motta is already planning to make moves for Atalanta midfielder Teun Koopmeiners and Bologna defender Ricardo Calafiori after the club agreed to terms with Monza goalkeeper Michele Di Gregorio.

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