Antonio Conte is to leave his post as national manager after the summer’s European Championship to return to club football, thus allowing the former Juventus man to take over at Chelsea.
A formal announcement is expected later today, but Italian Football Federation president, Carlo Tavecchio, confirmed the 46-year-old has made it clear that he wants to return to coachiung at club level.
“Conte will leave the national team after the European Championship,” said Tavecchio.
“He hears the call of the [training] pitch and of daily work, which is understandable.”
Conte has been in talks with Chelsea officials for several weeks and is understood to have told Tavecchio on Monday that he would be returning to club football next season.
“At the moment, my focus is on the Euros, where we’ll try with hard work and sacrifice to do our best at the tournament,” he said.
“Anyone who knows me, knows I will give my total commitment to this. I feel I should go back to being a club manager, to have the chance to train with players every day.
“I want to thank the president and everyone at the federation who has followed me in this wonderful adventure.”
Chelsea are expected to confirm his arrival on a three-year contract having already agreed that he can bring his long-term assistants, Angelo Alessio and Massimo Carrera, with him to Stamford Bridge.
Conte, who led Juventus to three successive titles up to 2014, replaced Cesare Prandelli on a two-year deal after Italy were knocked out of the group stage at the 2014 World Cup.
He will take over a Chelsea team who look set miss out on European football for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the London club 13 years ago. Although interim coach Guus Hiddink has steadied the ship since the departure of Jose Mourinho in December, the club were eliminated from the FA Cup and Champions League last week, and currently sit in 10th place in the Premier League.