Rating Chelsea’s six Italian coaches before Maresca | OneFootball

Rating Chelsea’s six Italian coaches before Maresca | OneFootball

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·28 May 2024

Rating Chelsea’s six Italian coaches before Maresca

Article image:Rating Chelsea’s six Italian coaches before Maresca

As talks between Chelsea and current Leicester City coach Enzo Maresca intensify, here’s a look at the six previous Italian managers who have given it a go in West London, along with a brief assessment of their achievements at Stamford Bridge.

Gianluca Vialli

The late Vialli was the first Italian to coach in the Premier League, let alone for Chelsea. He was also just the second non-UK coach to take the helm at Stamford Bridge. Originally appointed as player-manager following the departure of Ruud Gullit in 1998, Vialli immediately guided the team to glory in both the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Having won the latter, Chelsea qualified for the UEFA Super Cup, which they won with a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid. Their fourth-placed finish in the Premier League in Vialli’s first year was enough for a spot in the Champions League, the first time that had happened in the club’s history. Adding an FA Cup and a Charity Shield in the year 2000, Vialli won five trophies in under three years. 8.5/10.

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Claudio Ranieri

Chelsea opted for another Italian after Vialli, as Ranieri was appointed shortly after Graham Rix’s brief spell as interim. It was effectively a rebuild job for the recently-departed Cagliari coach, who had been instructed to lower the average age of the first team squad. Perhaps his most notable contribution during his time with Chelsea was the signing of club legend Frank Lampard, who would go on to win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League cups and the Champions League in 2011-12 – He also went on to manage the club himself in two different spells. Ranieri was also in charge when Roman Abramovich first took over in 2003, and was responsible for bringing in the likes of Claude Makelele, Juan Sebastian Veron and Hernan Crespo, among countless others. After major investment in the squad, Ranieri led Chelsea to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time ever, but ultimately lost out on a place in the final to Monaco. Despite results improving towards the end of his tenure, Ranieri eventually left Chelsea without a trophy in 2004, when the club landed ‘the Special One’, Jose Mourinho. 6/10

Carlo Ancelotti

Five years after Ranieri’s departure came the turn of the great Carletto. He penned a three-year deal with Chelsea, but would only go on to see out two thirds of that contract, Life got off to a brilliant start, as the Londoners won the Community Shield in Ancelotti’s first competitive match. Ancelotti also led Chelsea to a Premier League and FA Cup double in the 2009-10 season, his first in charge: A feat that had never been achieved at Chelsea before. Results the following season had a few more ups and downs, particularly towards the winter period. After signing Fernando Torres for a then-British record of €58m (£50m), Chelsea eventually finished the Premier League season in second place, but that was not enough to keep Ancelotti in the job, as he was dismissed immediately after a 1-0 loss to Everton on the final day of the season. 8/10.

Roberto Di Matteo

The greatest caretaker of all time? Formerly assistant to Andre Villas Boas, Di Matteo was temporarily handed the Chelsea reins in March 2012, and it took him just two months to win his first trophy. That came in the form of the FA Cup on May 4, which he followed up with an odds-defying Champions League victory over Bayern Munich, who were the designated home team in their home stadium at the Allianz Arena. That spectacular set of results left Chelsea with no other option but to appoint Di Matteo on a permanent basis, handing out an eventual two-year deal. Results, particularly in the Champions League, took a bit of a knock in the autumn of 2012, and Di Matteo was given his marching orders after a 3-0 loss to Juventus, which effectively knocked Chelsea out at the competition’s group stage. 9/10.

Antonio Conte

Fresh off the back of a two-year spell as CT of the Italy national team, and three consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus before then, Conte took his first job outside the Peninsula with Chelsea in 2016. By December of his first year, Conte had equalled Arsenal’s Premier League record of 13 consecutive victories. The following month, he picked up his third Manager of the Month award in a row, becoming the first Premier League coach ever to win three on the trot. By the Spring, Chelsea had already run away with the Premier League title, and they set another new record in doing so, picking up 30 wins from 38 matches. League results were not quite the same the following year as Chelsea finished fifth, which meant they missed out on a spot in the Champions League. Conte was able to leave on a minor high though, lifting the FA Cup in his final game in charge. 8.5/10.

Maurizio Sarri

Another run of back-to-back Italians at Chelsea saw Maurizio Sarri appointed in July 2018. His tenure got off to a losing start in the Community Shield, as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City rose to a 2-0 victory. Sarri did pick up a 3-0 win over newly-promoted Huddersfield in his first Premier League game in charge, though. The most infamous moment of Sarri’s time at Chelsea came during the League Cup final loss, again against Manchester City, when goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, whom Sarri had paid a Premier League record fee for, refused to come off in the closing minutes of extra-time. The West-Londoners would go on to lose 4-3 in the shoot-out. Sarri did pick up the first major title of his career with Chelsea, though, defeating Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final. The Premier League was a two-horse race between Manchester City and Liverpool that year, but Sarri and Chelsea still finished third, albeit 25 points behind second-placed Liverpool. He would go on to leave at the end of the season to take up the job with Juventus. 5/10.

Words: Peter Young (@peter_yng)

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