Antonio Conte Discusses Future Plans After Real Madrid Move Falls Through

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2018

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte during the English FA Cup final soccer match between Chelsea v Manchester United at Wembley stadium in London, England, Saturday, May 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Former Juventus and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said he would rather start a new job in June than in midseason amid reports Santiago Solari has been promoted to permanent Real Madrid manager.

The Italian was one of the leading candidates for the post, but Los Blancos have played well while Solari was interim manager, and he has now signed a long-term contract, according to Reuters and AFP (for AS). 

Per Mirko Calemme of AS, Conte discussed what's in store for him:

"Due to the kind of coach I am, I preferred and still prefer to wait until June to find a new job. But then you never know; maybe in two or three months the desire to coach will return again and I'll make a lie of what I just said. [...] 

"Where do I see myself? Well, right now I'm at home [laughs]. I'm studying, watching games and the work of my colleagues. Come back to Italy? You never know. I'm Italian so I'm happy here, but I wouldn't rule out carrying on abroad."

According to Calemme, Conte seemed to "confirm" he turned down Real himself. Others have suggested the squad was opposed to the Italian, per James Ducker of the Telegraph.

Real sacked Julen Lopetegui just months after making him their new manager following a dreadful start to the season. The 5-1 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico signaled the end for him, and Solari took charge before the Copa del Rey clash with Melilla.

Los Blancos had two weeks to decide on a permanent solution and Conte was regarded as the favourite due to his availability and short-term impact. The former Juventus midfielder is known as a fast starter, winning silverware with the Bianconeri and Blues in his first season.

Real have won four straight under Solari, however, conceding in just one of those four matches in the process. Per OptaJose, it's been some time since a Madrid manager won his first four:

OptaJose @OptaJose

1 - Santiago Solari is the first @realmadriden manager to win his first four competitive games since Manuel Pellegrini in 2009 (7). Inspiring. https://t.co/GWjLqUJXB3

Per AS English, the tactician seemed to realise he wouldn't be pushed to the side after the win over Celta Vigo:

AS English @English_AS

Solari: "In principle tomorrow is my last day" But you wouldn't exactly say he had the face of someone who's changing jobs on Tuesday.

The La Liga title race remains a tight one, with Barcelona suffering a shock loss against Real Betis on Sunday. Sixth-placed Real sit just four points behind the leaders, who have third-placed Atletico Madrid on the schedule next. Madrid travels to mid-table Eibar after the international break.