thumbnail Hello,

The former Juventus boss says he is motivated by the challenge of closing the gap on the world's best sides after being officially presented as Cesare Prandelli's successor

New Italy coach Antonio Conte admits the Azzurri lack the talent of other top nations and has challenged his players to work as a team to close the gap on the best.

The former Juventus boss was named last week as the successor to Cesare Prandelli - who resigned after Italy's dismal World Cup this summer - having agreed a two-year contract.

Conte was officially unveiled in Rome on Tuesday and, while he acknowledged the talent pool at his disposal is not as deep as those of the world's finest international sides, he has whole-heartedly accepted the challenge of restoring Italy's pre-eminence on the global stage.

"I can't say that I'm not emotional. I am very happy, very content. Everyone wants this job," he told reporters at the press conference in the Italian capital.

"I want to salute Cesare Prandelli, who was coach for four years and did great work. I wish him good luck at Galatasaray. I also want to thank Arrigo Sacchi for his work with the Italy youth sides these last years.

"I live to win. I live to search for wins. Other national teams have more talent than us. But playing as a team we can remove this gap. It is a challenge I willingly accept."

The former midfielder stepped down as Juventus coach by mutual consent earlier this summer after winning three consecutive Serie A titles and he admits he was surprised to return to coaching so quickly.

"After a very nice three years of winning with Juventus, we simply came to our natural conclusion," he explained. "I never expected to get back in the game after 35 days. I was looking abroad and studying languages. Then a call arrived from the FIGC [Italian Football Federation]."

During his three years in Turin, Conte was controversially suspended by the FIGC after allegedly failing to report match-fixing while he was coach of Bari. The 45-year-old was asked about the ban and also, awkwardly, given the Calciopoli dispute between Juventus and the FIGC, about how many titles Juventus have won.

"My suspension was unjust. I got through the ban, with a lot of pain. But it is through journeys like this that I grew," he explained.

"Regarding the numbers of the Scudetti. I know that I won eight Scudetti, five as a player and three as a coach."

Newly-elected FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio described Conte as the finest coach on the continent and claims they reached an agreement over his appointment after a short number of discussions.

"Conte is the best coach in Europe. An agreement was reached with Conte at the third meeting between us," he said.

Related

From the web