In a shocking move that few involved in Serie A football likely saw coming, Juventus manager Antonio Conte resigned on Tuesday.
ESPN FC reported the news:
Aaron Giambattista translated much of Conte's statement:
Conte- "There was a path, a journey. I matured a lot, I grew a lot. But at a club like Juventus, you must always win. And that is tiring."— Aaron Giambattista (@agiamba) July 15, 2014
Conte- "I must thank all my players, they helped me become a winning coach. I thank the club and Andrea, who selected me 3 years ago."— Aaron Giambattista (@agiamba) July 15, 2014
Juventus also posted the interview with Conte with English subtitles (press the Closed Captioning button):
James Horncastle of BT Sport has more:
Conte’s deal was due to expire in 2015. Didn’t extend. 1st day of pre-season was yesterday. Apparently resigns today. Wow. #Juve— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) July 15, 2014
Conte asked if this has anything to do with the Italy job: "I’m thinking about the present, to the decision taken [to resign]— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) July 15, 2014
One major question remains—why has this really happened? After three consecutive Serie A titles in Conte's three seasons at the helm, all seemed to be going according to plan at the club. Under Conte, Juventus rarely lost in domestic play, as WhoScored.com tweeted:
Antonio Conte: Lost only 7 of his 114 Serie A matches as Juventus head coach— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 15, 2014
Surely, this had little to do with results or tactics. Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sport offers one theory:
Many asks: Conte resigning-Vidal? Main reason is the contract extension meeting they had today.But transfers policy is core part of meeting— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) July 15, 2014
Matteo Bonetti of beIN Sport thinks the transfer policy entirely prompted the decision:
Clear to me that Conte resigned the second he found out that some of his key pieces at Juve are being sold. He wanted an ambitious project— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) July 15, 2014
Indeed, this will fuel the buzz that Arturo Vidal is going to be sold, likely to Conte's objections. Vidal has become a purported target of Manchester United, and clubs all around Europe would no doubt love to add the star midfielder.
Juventus would earn a huge fee for selling him, trimming off some financial burdens in the process. That would allow them to focus on retaining star youngster and midfield maestro Paul Pogba for years to come.
That's merely speculation at this point, however. Thus, the entire thing has everyone reeling, even the players. Keeper Gianluigi Buffon certainly didn't see it coming, per Football Italia:
Buffon: "This is unexpected. A bolt from the blue. The tone of the announcement suggests it was consensual and without any anger." #Juventus— footballitalia (@footballitalia) July 15, 2014
Speculation will now likely turn to Conte's future employment, and the possibility that he could take over as the manager of the Italian national team after Cesare Prandelli resigned following this year's World Cup.
Given the success he had at Juventus, he would surely be a popular pick to take over the national team. Also, given the familiarity he already has with many of the players who represent Italy internationally, he would have a relatively easy transition to that position.
Surely, a manager of his ability won't be without a job for long.