'I was very close to joining Real Madrid' - Conte reveals he had multiple chances to move to Spain

Antonio Conte Inter Borussia MonchengladbachGetty Images

Antonio Conte has revealed that he came close to taking charge of Real Madrid on a couple of occasions, but is now content at Inter.

Inter travel to Spain to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, and Conte has admitted he could have been in the opposite dugout.

Conte did not go into details on when the opportunities arose, but he has stated that the approaches came mid-season and he had no desire to move in the middle of a campaign.

“In the past there was an opportunity for me to become the coach of Real Madrid, but the time was not right,” Conte said at a press conference on Monday. 

“There have certainly been a couple of moments where I was very close to joining Real Madrid but the season had already started - it would have been so difficult to join them during the season.”

Conte has had a stellar coaching career, which took off when he was appointed Juventus boss in 2011.

Three Serie A titles came his way in Turin, before being lured into the international scene by Italy. His spell in charge of the Azzurri lasted from 2014 to 2016, when he was installed as the manager of Chelsea.

Premier League glory came his way in his first season in charge, but things soured at Stamford Bridge and he departed after guiding the Blues to FA Cup glory in 2018.

Conte spent a year away from management before being installed at the helm of Inter in the summer of 2019. 

Inter are trending in the right direction under Conte, and Tuesday’s clash with Real will be a test of their European credentials. 

Conte’s side are third in Group B after two games, which both ended in draws, and Tuesday’s clash is a huge occasion as Real are bottom of the table following a home loss to Shakhtar Donetsk and a draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. 

If Inter are to win in Spain on Tuesday, they will have to do it without star forward Romelu Lukaku, who has failed to shake off a muscle injury in his thigh and misses the trip to Madrid.