Authors Posts by Francesca Ceciarini

Francesca Ceciarini

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Italy and Sunderland attacking midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini would drop any potential move to Serie A to work under Antonio Conte at Chelsea next season, according to his agent.

Giaccherini has featured in three of Italy’s four games so-far in Euro 2016 and has won praise for his effort-full displays for the Azzurri on their way to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

The 31-year-old spent the last season on loan at Serie A club Bologna, and is almost certain to leave Sunderland for good this summer with a number of clubs in Italy keen on landing him.

However, according to his agent, Furio Valcareggi, Giaccherini would halt any move to stay in Italy if Chelsea show an interest in him when Conte, the current Italy manager, takes over next month.

He told Lady Radio: “There is Torino, Bologna and there is also a team abroad.

“I’d like to see him at Fiorentina, undoubtedly, but we have other situations at stake now.

“This is probably the high point of Giaccherini’s career.

“If Conte calls, we’ll fly to Chelsea.”

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BeIn Sport journalist Julien Chaput tweeted that next Blues signing Michy Batshuayi passed a medical in Bordeaux, France, where a Chelsea doctor travelled to follow him in this process.

The Belgian striker, who played in Olympique de Marseille in the past two seasons scoring 33 goals in 78 appearances, will sign a five-year-contract with the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Chelsea will pay £ 33.2m ( € 40m) to sign him: Batshuayi is currently on duty at EURO 2016 with his national team and scored a goal ( assisted by his future team-mate Eden Hazard) in the 4-0 win over Hungary last Sunday night.

Schermata 06-2457569 alle 13.32.12

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According to Italian transfer market expert Gianluca Di Marzio Chelsea agreed terms to sign Belgian talent Michy Batshuayi.

The Olyimpique de Marseille striker, who was one of the protagonists along with Eden Hazard in Belgium win against Hungary, would move to Stamford Bridge for € 40m ( £ 33m).

This deal calls off the one for Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata, that is considered too expensive by Chelsea directors with his £ 50m fee.

Batshuayi, 22, is the first signing of Chelsea new boss Antonio Conte.

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After Italy thrashed Spain in the European Championship last 16 game, Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci insists that incoming Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte, is a master of getting the players to perform in the style that he wants them to.

“Mr Conte is important as a coach that is able to really implement a game plan. He is more important in every match.

“I think that this process that started two years ago is absolutely essential. This national side is shorn of great talent so we have to come together as a team.

“We have to have a playing style and I think that Antonio Conte really is the master in this area.”

 

 

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On 23 June 2008 Spain defeated Italy 4-2 on penalties to reach the UEFA Euro Semi-finals. They went on to win the tournament that year, for the first time since 1964. In 2012 Spain won the tournament again, becoming the first team in history to successfully defend the title.

In 2016 Spain’s run of European success came to an abrupt end after a decisive 2-0 defeat at the hands of a team that had described as ‘the worst Italian team in decades’ before the tournament began.

How can the ‘worst Italian team in decades’ defeat a decidedly strong and competitive Spain? Two words: Antonio Conte.

Antonio Conte

The incoming Chelsea boss has shown that good management and emphasis on team-play more often than not trumps a team of superstars. We saw it with Leicester City under Ranieri this year, we saw it with Iceland’s 2-1 defeat of England, and we are seeing it under Conte’s Italy.

Now, that’s not to say the current Italy squad are football minnows, like Iceland and Leicester, but the current line-up of the Azzurri is a shadow of the glory years of the 1990s and mid-2000s.

Italy's 2006 World Cup winning squad.
Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning squad.

Criticised for a lack of youngsters in the squad (Italy came into the tournament with an average age of 28), robbed of some talent through injury (Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio), and criticised for some selections (Federico Marchetti over Gianluigi Donnarumma), Conte’s Italy was largely written off by the media before the tournament started. Yet, they recently defeated the European Champions and head into a game against the World Champions, Germany, having conceded zero goals so-far this tournament.

Conte’s style has been instrumental in Italy’s success, and it’s something Chelsea fans should look forward too. There was a moment in the second half against Spain which showed exactly what Conte’s philosophy is as a manager. An Italy interception fell to the feet of Emanuele Giaccherini in Spain’s territory, but poor control sent the ball towards Conte. It was a small error, but Conte was visibly incensed at the missed opportunity. Throughout the tournament Conte has been vocal. So vocal in-fact he can often be heard on commentators microphones screaming in Italian (avanti seems to be his favourite word).  In short, Conte is intense. He expects his players to give their all on the pitch and expects nothing less than 100%.

UBut intensity alone doesn’t win you matches. Italy have been technically skilled and very, very well organised, especially in defence – a feature that has been synonymous with Chelsea in seasons past. The 3-5-2 system offers flexibility in defence and attack, however it does work the midfielders extremely hard. Spain struggled to break Italy down, but at the same time Italy never over-committed at the back. They were able to move from solid defensive play to threatening attacks in an instant.

Italy's 3-5-2 formation.
Italy’s 3-5-2 formation.

Italy also had a very clear game-plan from the get-go, unlike certain teams (cough…England). Recognising how much of a lynchpin Busquets is to the Spanish side’s fluency, it is clear Conte instructed Pelle and Eder to close him down at every opportunity, and that’s exactly what they did. Stifiling the Barcelona man’s passing ability and preventing Spanish attacks from gaining any momentum. Resting 8 of Italy’s players in last week’s match against the republic of Ireland also meant the Azzurri had enough gas in the tank to run Spain ragged for the full 90minutes.

In essence Conte has been the manager Italy needed for this tournament. Even if they go out to Germany in the quarter-finals, Conte has shown Italy can succeed even with the apparent decline in world-class talent.

Conte’s intensity, technical mind-set and well thought-out game plans are all reasons for Chelsea fans to get excited in a season where the Premier League will be saturated with world class managers.

For Conte, however, his focus is still with the Italy who face a very strong World Cup winning Germany this week.

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One of the biggest humiliations for England in an international tournament: Hodgson and his boys are sent out from the euros in France by Iceland, surely the sensation of these EURO 2016.

The match seemed on the right path for the Three Lions after 4′, when Wayne Rooney netted a penalty gained by Raheem Sterling, but not even three minutes later the Icelandics equalise with Ragnar Sigurdsson, with England showing a very poor defense ( Chelsea‘s Gary Cahill was among the starters as usual).

Other 13′ minutes and the match and qualification were sealed, with Kolbein Sigthorsson trying a shot from outside the box that an embarrassing Joe Hart wasn’t able to stop.

England had just two clear chances to equalise, with Harry Kane in the end of the first half – his volée was inches high on the crossbar- and with Jamie Vardy in the end of the injury time in the second half: his header was deflected on corner by an Icelandic defender.

The Thee Lions coach Roy Hodgson resigned at the end of the game: U21 coach is the favourite to replace him in this moment.

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A miracle, they are saying in Italy: next Chelsea boss Antonio Conte trashes Spain at EURO 2016 and qualify for quarter finals, after the Azzurri were tagged as the underdogs. They will face the World Champions, Germany, on Saturday night.

No one was expecting such good performances for them, especially because the 23-men-squad is not at the same quality level of some Italy had before, but Conte’s team are recognizable for personality and group cohesion, in addition to tactical organization.

Combine it with an excellent physical form ( Italy is the team that covered more KMs in the whole tournament) and you get what the Azzurri are deserving: great results and great performances.

A iron-clad win over Spain, with Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea that saved his team from first half humiliation with, at least, three, miracles.

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas started for La Roja, playing all 90′, but his performance was really poor, as he couldn’t help his team to find a way to the goal.

Giorgio Chiellini scored on a tap-in following a De Gea’s save on Eder‘s strong free-kick, and after taking some risks -Buffon showed all of his skills in at least three occasions- in the second half, with Spain desperately trying to equalise, Southampton striker Graziano Pellè sealed match and qualification at minute 91, with Conte jumping on the bench’s roof to celebrate.

A good news for Chelsea fans, that will have a very motivated head coach at the beginning of his Blues adventure: you can bet we will more attributes at Stamford Bridge next year.

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AXEL WITSEL

If Chelsea will fail to sign Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan from AS Roma, they will try to focus on his national team mate Axel Witsel (27).

The ex Benfica star is set to leave Zenit Saint Petersburg after 4 seasons and it’s already targeted by Juventus, Inter, AC Milan and Napoli, as well as Giallorossi themselves and Stoke City.

Still on a deal with Russian club until June 2017, Witsel might leave for an offer around €23/£17.5m .

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Ex Chelsea manager Andre Villas Boas has been targeted by AC Milan to replace first team coach Christian Brocchi, who asked to leave his job yesterday to be able to join Brescia, in the Italian Serie B, and that started to work at the club only in January, when former coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was sacked.

Milan are in a very delicate moment of their history: the financial situation is not good and the long time chairman, Silvio Berlusconi, has been looking for a group of new investors outside of Italy, especially in China, to sell the club but had no luck until now.

The Italian side, that won seven Champions League, also failed to qualify for any European competition in the last three years and the situation is very unstable.

Signing a young and valid manager like Villas Boas they would try to improve this delicate situation and it should a good chance for the Portuguese coach as well, after failing his first experience in a big international club like Chelsea and three years in the Russian championship with Zenit St Petersburg.

 

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AC Milan have joined the race with Chelsea and Arsenal to sign in-form Everton and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku.

The Italian club have recently been taken over by Chinese investors and it is thought that they will have a significant cash injection into their transfer funds to help lure the 23-year-old away from Goodison Park.

Chelsea have been keen on bringing Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge once more with their top striker Diego Costa unsure about his future.

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