English football champions Chelsea’s Italian manager Antonio Conte has admitted he misses his home and will not spend the rest of his coaching career abroad.
“For me, I do miss Italy and this I can say without any doubt, there is certainly no thought in my mind of remaining abroad for a long time,” he said.
“Italy is my country so, once I’ve had a good, learning experience, I will return to Italy,” Conte told RAI Radio 1.
The former Juventus boss was linked to a move back to his hometown after being frustrated by Chelsea’s transfer policy despite leading them to an English Premier League (EPL) title.
Conte signed a new contract in July, although that merely improved his terms and did not extend the length of his commitment at Stamford Bridge beyond the remaining two years of his initial deal.
“I don’t know when it will be, but I’ll come back. It’s always hard to predict the future, especially for us coaches because it’s one of the riskiest jobs around — today you are in one place, tomorrow you are in another because you are dependent on results,” he said.
“As far as I am concerned, I always want to finish a project and for things to go the right way, but if you ask me if I miss Italy, then yes I do miss Italy, this is a matter of fact.
“Definitely this experience in England has enriched me a lot in all aspects. Like I said, it’s not easy. In Italy, you have the comfort with the language, the way of life, the habits and you find people who are used to this way of life, so that makes it easier.
“I’m improving in many ways and in the future I don’t know, maybe I’d like to try something different, maybe be a director or something else. Become a sporting director? I could,” he added.
Conte also led Italy to the quarter-finals of the European Championship last year.
“You have got to get used to a different language and this leads to a substantial loss of energy as you need to concentrate to work in a different language,” Conte said. “For me, it’s not easy to coach abroad.
“You find an atmosphere which is incredible in the stadiums, fans come to live the event and a festival and last year I saw scenes which left me open mouthed.
“I recall when we played against Middlesbrough and we beat them, earning almost certainly the title and sending them down, but the whole stadium of Middlesbrough was applauding their team.
“It was the same with Sunderland. They live football like a celebration. It matters to them that the players give everything for the shirt they are wearing, more than the result.”
Conte said retaining the title is going to be even harder this season.
“Definitely the English league is very, very difficult because there are six sides challenging for it, and this year there are even more big clubs, with the two Manchester clubs back who didn’t do so well last year.
“Tottenham, who are a very, very good team, together with Liverpool and Arsenal — it’s a battle and you cannot say who will win the league,” he said.
Chelsea face Atletico Madrid in their second Champions League fixture of the season on Wednesday with Conte not yet wanting to see beyond a group stage which also includes Serie A side Roma.
“I don’t think we’ve been lucky with the draw as we’ve got one of toughest groups,” he said. “Atletico have always done well in recent years, reaching the final and semi-finals, and they’ve got a good squad with a lot of experience.
“We’re back after let’s call it a sabbatical year, with a lot of enthusiasm and we’ve got the aim to do the best in this competition, which is very difficult.
“Roma are competitive in Italy and they can be equally competitive in the Champions League, so we’ve got to be careful,” he added.