Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Blues name Di Matteo as manager

Roberto Di Matteo has been rewarded for winning the Champions League
Roberto Di Matteo has been rewarded for winning the Champions League

Chelsea have appointed Roberto Di Matteo as their full-time coach on a two-year contract.

The Blues have moved to confirm the Italian as their permanent boss just three weeks after he led them to their first Champions League title while in interim charge.

Di Matteo, who turned 42 last month, was ecstatic to take on the role permanently. He said: "I'm obviously delighted to have been appointed as manager and first-team coach."

He added: "We all achieved incredible success last season that made history for this great club.

"Our aim is to continue building on that and I'm already planning and looking forward to the squad's return for pre-season."

Di Matteo replaced Andre Villas-Boas for the final 11 weeks of the season and inspired a stunning rejuvenation of a side that had been deemed too old, as they won the FA Cup before their famous penalty shoot-out win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.

Despite Di Matteo's success there was speculation Chelsea would look elsewhere for a full-time boss, with Pep Guardiola apparently atop their wish-list following his departure from Barcelona. Owner Roman Abramovich was said to be keen to bring in Guardiola despite the Spaniard showing little interest in revoking his decision to take a year's sabbatical.

Rumours Guardiola could be swayed grew stronger as the weeks passed since Chelsea's Munich triumph, but in confirming Di Matteo's appointment chief executive Ron Gourlay labelled the former Blues midfielder the "right man to lead Chelsea onto further success".

Gourlay also revealed Di Matteo had been involved in the decision to make recent signings with the club having already made the big-money capture of Eden Hazard following the end of last season.

"Roberto's quality was clear for all to see when he galvanised the squad last season and helped the club make history, and the owner and board are very pleased he will be continuing his good work," he said.

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