Antonio Conte has insisted that he is not considering a return to the vacant role at the helm of the Italian national team, and wants to see through his contract at Chelsea.
The Azzurri are in search of a new coach following their failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup and the subsequent dismissal of Gian Piero Ventura, with Roberto Mancini the favourite to take on the position.
However, with Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Vice-President Alessandro Costacurta hinting that Conte is also being considered, the Chelsea coach sought to distance himself from a return to a role he held from 2014 to 2016.
“Costacurta is a friend, we played together for the national team in 1994,” Conte told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Maybe he forgot that I still have 18 months remaining on my contract at Chelsea, and it is my intention, as well as my desire, to respect them.
“I honestly do not think about meeting Costacurta to talk about the national team.”
Conte led Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 before being eliminated by Germany in a penalty shoot-out.
The former Juventus tactician won the Premier League in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, but has struggled to follow up that success this term as Chelsea languish in fourth, 18 points off leaders Manchester City.