MILAN – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has revealed he misses his native Italy and plans to return home soon.
“Yes, I miss Italy. And in my mind, there’s no doubt I will be home before long,” Conte said in an interview on Monday with Italian radio station Anch’io Sport.
“Italy is my homeland, so once I have had some good experiences, important and life-changing experiences, I’ll be back. I don’t know when, but that’s the aim.”
The 48-year-old, from Lecce in the heel of Italy, led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in England.
“For me, it was my first year abroad and it was great to win at the first attempt. A special feeling was created with the fans,” he said.
But despite being unsure what the future holds, the former Juventus and Italian national team boss ruled out working in China.
“In China, no, absolutely, I’m nostalgic for Italy. I’ll be back, but perhaps in the future I won’t be a manager. Perhaps I’ll work as a director of football. I don’t know,” he continued.
Conte believes it will be tough for Chelsea – third this term behind Manchester City and Manchester United after six games – to defend their title.
“Six teams are in contention for the title, this year will be even tougher because Manchester United are back, and there is also Tottenham, not to mention Liverpool and Arsenal.”
Next up is Wednesday’s Champions League clash at Atletico Madrid after cantering past Azerbaijani side Qarabag 6-0 in their opener, with AS Roma playing in Stamford Bridge on October 18.
“In our corner, there’s Roma, who have all the cards to go far,” he said.
“Ours wasn’t a lucky draw, but we want to overcome it so we can prepare for the last 16, where I hope to avoid the Italian teams.”
As for club football in his homeland, Conte believes “Serie A is in the process of coming back, but all the best players want to play in the English championship”.
And he has no doubt Italy will make the World Cup in Russia next year.
“I’m not afraid about us not going to the World Cup. I have no doubt, Italy will be there.”