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Antonio Conte to leave Italy national team for Chelsea after Euro 2016

Surprise surprise: Conte is all but gone.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The news we've all been expecting on the Italy national team scene is finally here: it has been announced that Antonio Conte will leave the national team following Euro 2016 this summer.

The move paves the way for Conte to sign with Chelsea, where he is expected to take over for interim manager Guus Hiddink, who replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho earlier this season. Chelsea collapsed fairly spectacularly this season after winning the English Premier League last season, but flirting with the relegation zone for much of the first half of the season was sufficiently below expectations that Mourinho was shown the door. Hiddink has restabilized Chelsea and pulled them up the EPL table, but were absolutely humbled by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16.

Expectations will be high for Conte in England -- Chelsea expect to compete for titles every year on multiple fronts, including the Champions League -- but it's not as though he hasn't dealt with high expectations before. He lead Juventus to three straight league titles before resigning and taking the Italy job, who he easily guided through the Euro qualifiers despite having taken over a team that had utterly failed in the World Cup two summers ago.

Where this leaves Italy is a bit up in the air. Robert Donadoni is being tipped to take over for Conte with the national team for some reason -- he's never really impressed as a manager, but one supposes Italy could do worse -- and we can only guess as to how committed and focused Conte will be in his leadership of the national team during this crucial tournament. We'll have to watch the upcoming international matches closely to see how he handles them, because he no longer has anything to prove. That could prove disastrous for Italy's dreams of fighting for the Euro 2016 title.