Conte thanks Chelsea 'friends' after acrimonious departure from Stamford Bridge

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The Italian has been replaced in the Blues hot-seat by Maurizio Sarri despite overseeing Premier League and FA Cup wins during a two-year reign

Antonio Conte has thanked his “friends” at Chelsea for an “amazing” experience which delivered Premier League and FA Cup triumphs prior to his acrimonious departure.

Despite having delivered major honours in each of his two seasons at Stamford Bridge, and with a year still to run on his contract, the Italian has been cast aside by the Blues.

Maurizio Sarri has been appointed in his place, with the former Napoli boss inheriting the reins ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.

Conte, who had seen his future called into question for several months before a decision was finally taken, now finds himself out of work but insists he will look back fondly on his time in west London.

He said in a statement released through the League Managers Association (LMA): “I would like to thank all of my friends at Chelsea Football Club for their hard work and support over the past two seasons which enabled us to win the Premier League and FA Cup together. 

“To the players, whose talent and commitment was so important to our successes, I thank them for everything. It has been a pleasure working with them every day.

“To my staff, who always worked so hard, I must say thank you and well done for their professionalism and dedication throughout.

“I have enjoyed my time in England and London so much and I want to thank the Chelsea fans who have been amazing to me and my family. It was fantastic for me to be able to share my emotions, passion and enthusiasm throughout two unforgettable seasons with these amazing Chelsea supporters, who will always stay in my heart.

“I hope Chelsea will continue to be successful and I wish everyone well for next season.

“I have made many memories during my time with Chelsea, which I will take with me into my next challenge.”

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LMA chief executive Richard Bevan added: “Antonio made an immediate impact when he arrived in the Premier League two years ago. His energy and enthusiasm for football has been infectious and it has been a privilege to have one of the best coaches in the world working in the Premier League to raise the standard of the league and his players at Chelsea.

“His record as a manager speaks for itself, with a record-breaking Premier League season and FA Cup title to look back on with pride. Antonio is hugely respected by his peers within the English game, who voted him as LMA Manager of the Year in 2017.

“We have no doubt that Antonio will go on to achieve many more successes in his career.”

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