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Remembering all of Chelsea’s Italian managers

Chelsea have named Enzo Maresca as their new head coach with the Italian leaving Leicester to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge.

Maresca’s appointment continues Chelsea’s long lineage of Italian coaches, and the 44-year-old has become the seventh of his countrymen to take charge in West London. Following Maresca’s arrival at Chelsea, we’ve remembered the six previous Italian coaches to have taken charge of the Blues.

Gianluca Vialli

Gianluca Vialli was a headline signing at Chelsea when the Champions League-winning captain joined the Blues from Juventus in 1996. Just 18 months later, Vialli had replaced the manager who had signed him, Ruud Gullit, to become player-coach.

The Italian led Chelsea to the European Cup Winners’ Cup and League Cup in 1997/98, before beating Real Madrid to claim the UEFA Super Cup and lifting the FA Cup in 1999/2000.

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His five trophies made Vialli the most successful Chelsea manager ever at the time of his exit, when the Italian was sacked early into the 2000/01 season amid fallouts with several players.

Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri was brought in to replace Vialli, stepping into his compatriot’s shoes at Stamford Bridge.

Though he failed to win silverware with Chelsea, Ranieri oversaw a significant period in West London. He guided Chelsea to Champions League qualification in 2002/03, secured with a last-day win over top-four rivals Liverpool, in a result that changed the course of the club’s history.

Roman Abramovich, suitably impressed with a place in the Champions League, bought the Blues and bankrolled their path to super club status.

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Ranieri spent around £120m on new signings in that first summer, bringing in players such as Claude Makelele, Joe Cole and Hernan Crespo. Chelsea ended the season second and reached the Champions League semi-finals, though the Italian was dismissed as Jose Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge.

Read – Moments that made the Premier League: Chelsea’s final-day victory ushers in the Abramovich era

Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti became the latest big name to arrive at Chelsea as the club’s coaching position resembled a revolving door in the late noughties.

The two-time Champions League winner arrived with a big reputation from a successful spell at AC Milan and led Chelsea to a Premier League and FA Cup double in his debut campaign. Ancelotti’s side became the first team since 1963 to score 100+ goals in a top-flight season and wrapped up the title with an 8-0 win over Wigan on the final day.

After a disappointing second season he departed, but has since gone on to make history on the continent. ‘Don Carlo’ is the only manager to have won each of Europe’s top five leagues, while he is now a record-breaking five-time winner of the Champions League after a hat-trick of titles with Real Madrid.

Roberto Di Matteo

Chelsea handed the coaching reins to Roberto Di Matteo in 2011/12, after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked during his debut season.

Di Matteo was a former player and had been working as an assistant at Chelsea, before being appointed on a caretaker basis. Incredibly, he led Chelsea to Champions League success just months after his appointment.

After overturning a first-leg deficit to beat Napoli in his first European match, the Blues beat Benfica, Barcelona and Bayern Munich to become the first London team to win the Champions League. He added the FA Cup to make it a double and was made permanent manager, though was controversially sacked just four months into the following season.

Read – Remembering Chelsea’s 2012 UCL winners that smash-and-grabbed Bayern on their own patch

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte made an immediate impact after taking charge of Chelsea in 2016/17. His first season at the helm saw Chelsea crowned champions in the Premier League, with a 13-game winning run propelling the Blues to title success.

Conte’s Chelsea broke several divisional records at that time, including for most wins in a Premier League season (30) and the second-highest points tally (93).

He led the West Londoners to FA Cup success in his second season but left after the club missed out on a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.

Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri replaced his compatriot in charge just a day after Conte’s exit was announced.

After impressing at Napoli with an aesthetic brand of football, Sarri sought to stamp his style on Chelsea. The Blues lost the League Cup final on penalties to Manchester City – in a decider remembered for Kepa Arrizabalaga’s refusal to be substituted – but atoned for that loss by thrashing Arsenal in the Europa League final.

However, discontent with his tactics contributed to his departure and saw Sarri leave after just one season in charge, as the 60-year-old signed a three-year deal at Juventus.

Read – Four strikers Chelsea should be scouting at Euro 2024

See more – Five Pep Guardiola proteges in charge of top clubs next season

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