Italian Roberto Di Matteo has been rewarded for his sterling work last year as interim first-team coach signing a two-year contract with the ‘Blues’, becoming the fourth Italian to manage Chelsea.
Di Matteo, who had been brought in as Andres Villas-Boas’ assistant coach was elevated to the job after the departure of the Portuguese. He immediately affected a change in the team’s results which lead to their most successful season yet winning the FA Cup and the Champions League.
Already a legend at the club from his playing days scoring the winning goals in both the 1997 and 2000 FA Cup finals, as well as netting in the 1998 League Cup final, the 34-time capped Italian was a midfielder with great vision, passing ability and a fearsome long-distance shot which saw him become an integral part of Chelsea’s resurgence in the late 90’s. Although forced into early retirement at the age of 31, he was named in the Chelsea greatest ever XI making 175 appearances for the ‘Blues’ in six years and scoring 29 goals.
After playing Di Matteo turned his attention to coaching with much success, steering Milton Keynes Dons to third place in League One, and gaining promotion to the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion.
Chelsea FC Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said: “We will be working closely with Roberto in the weeks ahead, some exciting signings have already been made and Roberto has had input into those. Although he has set the bar very high in the short time he has been in charge, we know that Roberto is the right man to lead Chelsea onto further success.'
This decision has proven popular with both the fans and the players who have rowed in with their support of Di Matteo and the continuity it brings will certainly ensure their continued success on the field. The summer has already seen Chelsea splash out on Eden Hazard for nearly €40 million and have been linked with Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic and Hulk from Porto.
'I'm obviously delighted to have been appointed as manager and first-team coach. 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,' said Matteo.
Dolce&Gabbana are proud to continue their friendship with the London club and proud top see another Italian at the helm. To Roberto we offer our congratulations, and to Chelsea our continued passionate support.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty