Napoli appoint Conte as new manager

Former Chelsea and Tottenham coach Antonio Conte was hired by Napoli on Wednesday as the deposed Serie A champions try to bounce back from their disastrous league title defence.

“Welcome Antonio,” the club’s president and owner Aurelio De Laurentiis wrote on X, formerly Twitter, accompanied by a photograph of Conte signing his contract.

Conte, who has also coached Juventus and Inter Milan, has signed a three-year deal which according to Italian media is worth eight million euros ($8.7 million) per season.

He is the fifth Napoli coach of the last year in a chaotic period for the club which in the 2022-2023 season won their first Serie A title since 1990, when Diego Maradona was still strutting his stuff.

But the coach who won the title, Luciano Spalletti, left last summer and southern Italy’s biggest club went through three managers on their way to a dismal 10th-place finish this season.

Napoli ended the season 41 points behind new champions Inter as Rudi Garcia, Walter Mazzarri and Francesco Calzona all failed to live up to Spalletti’s historic title win.

Spalletti is now in charge of the Italian national team.

Conte has been charged with taking Napoli back up the table, and has a pedigree which will give fans hope of a quick turnaround in fortunes.

The 54-year-old has won four Serie A titles, three with Juve and one with Inter in 2021, and was also a Premier League winner with Chelsea in 2017.

Conte will almost certainly have to do without star striker Victor Osimhen, who is a target for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.