Conte receiving the Best Coach of the Year award in 2013
|Full name||Antonio Conte|
|Date of birth||31 July 1969|
|Place of birth||Lecce, Italy|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Playing position||Central midfielder|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Antonio Conte (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔːnjo ˈkonte]; born 31 July 1969) is an Italian professional football manager and former player. He is currently the head coach of the Italian national team.
Playing as a midfielder, Conte became one of the most decorated and influential players in the history of Juventus. He stood out throughout his career due to his tenacity, work-rate, and leadership, captaining the team, and winning the UEFA Champions League, as well as 5 Serie A titles, among other honours. He also played for the Italian national team and was a participant at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 UEFA European Championship, where, in both occasions, the Italians finished in second place.
As a manager, Conte is known for using the 3-5-2 formation (or in certain cases, its more defensive variant, 5-3-2), fielding two wingbacks in lieu of wingers, and two pure strikers backed by an offensive box-to-box midfielder in his three-man midfield; Conte thus successfully resists the trend to use just one striker, prevalent in formations such as 4-2-3-1 that have come to dominate many clubs throughout Europe. During his time as head coach of Juventus, he won three consecutive Serie A titles using the 3-5-2 formation, which also began to be employed by several other Serie A clubs. In his time at Bari he was noted for his unorthodox 4-2-4 formation, a modification of the classic 4-4-2 in which the outside midfielders act as attacking wingers.
- 1 Playing career
- 2 Style of play
- 3 Coaching career
- 4 Controversy
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Career statistics
- 7 Honours
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Conte began to play football in his hometown, within the U.S. Lecce youth team, before making his Serie A debut with the first squad in 1985. He was signed by Juventus manager Giovanni Trapattoni in 1991 (debuting 17 November 1991 vs. Torino), being later made captain before the promotion of Alessandro Del Piero to this role. During the 1998–1999 season when Del Piero suffered a severe knee injury, Conte returned to the captaincy, which he maintained the until the 2001–02 season. Conte won 5 Serie A titles with Juventus, the 1994–95 Coppa Italia, the 1992–93 UEFA Cup, and the 1995–96 UEFA Champions League. He came very close to winning the top European title again in 3 separate occasions, but the "curse of finals" afflicting Juventus continued, as Juve lost the Champions League finals of 1997, 1998 and 2003.
Conte also played for the Italian national team, and was a participant at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 UEFA European Championship, managing runners-up medals in both tournaments. Although at club level, Conte won all possible top tier titles, aside from the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, he only managed runners-up medals at international level.
Style of play
Conte was known to be a quick, combative, energetic, and tactically versatile footballer throughout his career, who could play anywhere in midfield, but was usually deployed as a central box-to-box or defensive midfielder. A hard-working and intelligent player, with an innate ability to read the game, Conte was mainly known for his accurate tackling, stamina, and vision, which along with his solid technique, endowed him with the ability to start attacking plays by switching the defence into attack after winning back possession. Due to his ability to get forward, he also had a penchant for scoring spectacular goals from volleys and strikes from outside the area; he was also good in the air.
After having retired as a footballer, Conte worked as an assistant manager for Siena alongside Luigi De Canio in the 2005–06 season. In July 2006 he was appointed coach of Serie B side Arezzo; however, after a series of disappointing results, he was sacked on 31 October 2006.
On 13 March 2007 he was reinstated to the Arezzo head coaching position, as his predecessor failed to gain any significant improvement. In his second time at Arezzo he led the team to five consecutive wins in a row, and 19 points in 7 matches, which allowed the Tuscan side to fill the gap from the last safe spot; his team however did not manage to avoid relegation, and Arezzo dropped into Serie C1 on the final matchday, only one point behind Spezia.
On 27 December 2007 he was appointed by Bari to replace Giuseppe Materazzi for the second half of their Serie B 2007–08 campaign. He did very well, turning Bari's 2007–08 season around from relegation-threatened to a comfortable midtable position. In the following season, 2008–09, Bari were crowned Serie B champions, being promoted to Serie A for the 2009–10 season.
In June 2009, after weeks of rumours linking Conte to the vacant managerial role at Juventus, he agreed in principle for a contract extension to keep him at Bari for the new season; however, on 23 June Bari announced to have rescinded the contract with Antonio Conte by mutual consent.
After Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Juventus, Conte was named as one of the candidates to become the new coach. However, the "bianconeri" hired Ciro Ferrara as the first team manager, instead. Conte had stated shortly prior that he would like to be the Juventus coach in the future, because he thought he was ready to assume the work.
On 21 September 2009 Atalanta appointed him to replace Angelo Gregucci. After a good start at the helm of the orobici, Atalanta under Conte's reign began struggling by November, leading to protests from local supporters and troubles between Conte himself and the organised ultras of the club.
On 6 January 2010, Conte was repeatedly confronted by Atalanta fans during a home game against Napoli which ended in a 0–2 loss for the nerazzurri; the matchday ended with a police intervention to avoid altercation between Conte and the Atalanta ultras. The next day, Conte tended his resignations to the club, leaving them in 19th place.
On 9 May 2010 he was announced as new head coach of Siena, with the aim to bring the Tuscan side back to the top flight after relegation to the 2010–11 Serie B. Conte successfully led Siena to promotion for the 2011–12 Serie A season.
On 22 May 2011 Juventus sporting director, Giuseppe Marotta, announced that Juventus had appointed Conte as their new head coach replacing Luigi Delneri. It was expected that Conte would lead Juventus to their return on top of the Italian and European football scene.
In his first 10 months on the Juventus bench, Conte, a former fan favourite as a midfielder for the club, had already reached a number of landmarks. On 17 March 2012, following a 5–0 win over rivals Fiorentina, he equalled Fabio Capello's run of 28 unbeaten games between November 2005 and May 2006. On 20 March 2012, he became the first coach to lead Juventus to a Coppa Italia final since Marcello Lippi in the 2004 Coppa Italia Final. On 25 March, following a 2–0 success at the Juventus Stadium he became the first coach to win both legs of the Derby d'Italia against rivals Internazionale since Fabio Capello in 2005–06. In November 2012, Conte was awarded the Trofeo Maestrelli, which is awarded to the three best Italian coaches in the professional league, the youth levels and outside Italy respectively. In spite of the numerous draws conceded by the Bianconeri during the season, on 6 May 2012, Conte led Juventus to its 28th scudetto with one round to spare by beating Cagliari 2–0. After beating Atalanta 3–1, Juventus finished the league unbeaten, the first team to do so since Serie A expanded to 20 teams and 38 rounds, only conceding 20 goals, finishing the League with the best defence in Italy. Juventus lost the 2012 Coppa Italia final to Napoli 2–0, however, failing to finish an entire Italian season unbeaten.
Conte won critical acclaim as Juventus manager and earned comparisons with José Mourinho, primarily due to his obsession with tactics, his winning mentality and ability to bond together his players. He also demonstrated his tactical versatility and meticulousness as a coach, adopting several different formations in an attempt to find the most suitable system to hone his players' skills. The formations he adpoted included the 4-2-4, the 4-1-4-1, the 3-3-4, and the 4-3-3, before he finally settled on his now trademark 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 formation, also using the 3-5-1-1 on occasion, a variation upon this system. The resulting system was key to the club's success, as the three-man midfield line-up, surrounded by wingbacks, allowed veteran star Andrea Pirlo to function creatively as a deep-lying playmaker, while the more dynamic Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio either supported him defensively, or contributed offensively by making attacking runs into the area.
Conte's Juventus won the 2012–13 Serie A title with relative ease. They accumulated 87 points, three more than the previous season where they also won the title, nine more than second placed Napoli and 15 more than third placed Milan. Despite their dominance, Juventus' top goalscorers in the league were midfielder Vidal, and forward Mirko Vučinić, both with just ten goals, meaning they were the equal 23rd in the goalscorers charts. This showed both the lack of a quality front line but also Conte's ability to make all players on the park potential goalscorers. In his first UEFA Champions League campaign, Juventus were knocked out by Bayern in the quarter finals, losing 4–0 on aggregate. Bayern went on to win the competition. After winning a second consecutive Italian Supercup in 2013, Juventus managed to capture their third consecutive Serie A title under Conte during the 2013–14 season, winning the league with a Serie A record of 102 points; this title was Juventus's 30th overall Serie A title. Juventus disappointed in Europe, however, and were eliminated in the first round of the UEFA Champions League that season, although they managed to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League. On 15 July 2014, Conte resigned as manager of Juventus.
On 14 August 2014, following Cesare Prandelli's resignation, the Italian Football Federation announced to have agreed a two-year deal with Conte as new head coach of the national team until Euro 2016. With the national side, Conte continued to field formations which he had used during his successful spell with Juventus, such as the 3-5-2, the 4-3-3-, the 4-2-4, and the 3-3-4, which replaced Prandelli's 4-3-1-2 formation, which employed a midfield diamond. His first match as Italy's manager was a 2–0 win over Netherlands, during which Ciro Immobile and Daniele De Rossi scored the goals for Gli Azzurri. Conte won his first competitive match as Italy's manager on 9 September 2014, defeating Norway 2–0 in their opening 2016 European Qualifying match, in Oslo, with goals by Zaza and Bonucci. This was the first time Italy had managed to defeat the Norwegians in Norway since 1937. As of 13 October 2015, Italy have only lost one match under Conte, with his only international defeat coming in a 1–0 international friendly loss against Portugal on 16 June 2015. He sealed Euro 2016 qualification for Italy on 10 October 2015, as Italy defeated Azerbaijan 3–1 in Baku.
Prior to Euro 2012, Conte was accused of failure to report attempted match-fixing during his time as manager of Siena by ex-Siena player Filippo Carobbio, connected with the betting scandal of 2011-12. Carobbio, after himself being charged with extensive involvement in the scandal, claimed that at halftime of a match between Siena and Novara, the Siena owner, Massimo Mezzaroma, sent a messenger into his players' dressing room to request that they deliberately lose the match in order to help Mezzaroma turn a large profit on a bet he had made. Siena, including Carobbio, instead went on to win the match 5-0, but the later accusation entailed a failure on the part of Conte to report the attempted fraud to the appropriate authorities - a violation of the sporting code of justice.
Conte's lawyers, along with Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, strenuously denied these accusations. Conte maintained that he had no knowledge of any attempts to fix the matches in which he was involved. The 23 other Siena players besides Carobbio from the season in question all supported Conte's declaration of innocence and stated that no such match-fixing attempt occurred with Conte's knowledge. No further evidence against Conte was ever produced aside from the word of Carobbio.
Conte took the advice of his lawyers to take a plea bargain of three months ban, under Article 23 of Italian law without admission of guilt. On 1 August 2012, this plea bargain was rejected. On 10 August FIGC announced his sentence as a suspension from football for the next 10 months, for failing to report match-fixing in Novara-Siena and AlbinoLeffe-Siena. Conte again maintained his innocence and appealed the verdict.
On 22 August 2012, the Federal Court of Justice dropped the accusation about Novara-Siena. Federal Court member Pietro Sandulli commented that "...it seemed illogical that such a senior and experienced coach would say in the locker room 'we're drawing this one' in front of 25 players". However, the court confirmed the 10 months ban for AlbinoLeffe-Siena. The verdict was motivated by Christian Stellini's acceptance of a plea bargain and because the court deemed it "unlikely" that Conte could not have known about Stellini's moves. On 23 August 2012, Juventus announced an appeal to Italy's sports arbitration panel against this new ban. Following this appeal, Conte's touchline ban was reduced to four months.
There was much controversy surrounding Italy's UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match on 28 March 2015 against Bulgaria, as Conte called up Brazilian-born Éder and Argentine-born Franco Vázquez. Both players hold an Italian citizenship as they have relatives that are Italian, allowing them to be eligible to play for Italy. Speaking at a Serie A meeting on 23 March 2015, Roberto Mancini said, "The Italian national team should be Italian. An Italian player deserves to play for the national team while someone who wasn't born in Italy, even if they have relatives, I don't think they deserve to." Italian manager, Conte's response to the use of foreign-born players was, "If Mauro Camoranesi [who was born in Argentina] was allowed to help Italy win the 2006 World Cup, then why can't Éder and Franco Vázquez lead the Azzurri to glory in next year's European Championship?"
Conte and his wife Elisabetta have a daughter Vittoria. The couple had been together for some fifteen years before marrying in June 2013. Conte has expressed his gratitude to his family for their support during the Scommessopoli match-fixing scandal investigations: "I have a great woman by my side, one who always tries to understand me. As for my daughter, she is the other woman in my life. She is beginning to understand that her dad gets nervous when he does not win [a match]".
- Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.
|1.||27 March 1999||Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark||Denmark||2–1||2–1||UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying|
|2.||11 June 2000||GelreDome, Arnhem, Netherlands||Turkey||1–0||2–1||UEFA Euro 2000|
- As of match played 17 November 2015.
|Arezzo||July 2006||31 October 2006||12||3||5||4||25.00|
|Arezzo||13 March 2007||June 2007||14||6||4||4||42.86|
|Bari||27 December 2007||23 June 2009||67||32||20||15||47.76|
|Atalanta||21 September 2009||7 January 2010||14||3||4||7||21.43|
|Siena||1 July 2010||21 May 2011||44||22||14||8||50.00|
|Juventus||22 May 2011||15 July 2014||151||102||34||15||67.55|
|Italy||14 August 2014||Present||16||9||5||2||56.25|
- Serie A (5): 1994–95, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03
- Coppa Italia (1): 1994–95
- Supercoppa Italiana (4): 1995, 1997, 2002, 2003
- UEFA Champions League (1): 1995–96
- UEFA Cup (1): 1992–93
- UEFA Super Cup (1): 1996
- UEFA Intertoto Cup (1): 1999
- Intercontinental Cup (1) 1996
- Serie A (3): 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14
- Coppa Italia: 2011–12 (Runner-up)
- Supercoppa Italiana (2): 2012, 2013
- Silver Bench (1): 2008–09
- Panchina d'Oro (3): 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14
- Serie A Coach of the Year (3): 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14
- Trofeo Tommaso Maestrelli for the Best Italian Manager (1): 2011–12
- Globe Soccer Award for the Best Coach of the Year (1): 2013
- IFFHS Best Club Coach of the Year Nominee (1): 2013 (7th) 
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- Conte handed 10-month ban in Scommessopoli scandal|http://sports.yahoo.com/news/conte-handed-10-month-ban-073700100--sow.html
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- Italian judge: Conte lucky ban was not longer|http://sports.yahoo.com/news/italian-judge-conte-lucky-ban-225000143--sow.html
- Il Messaggero – Calcioscommesse, le motivazioni della sentenza-Conte|http://www.ilmessaggero.it/sport/calcio/calcioscommesse_conte_motivazioni_sentenza/notizie/215597.shtml
- Juventus to appeal again after Conte's 10-month ban upheld|http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/19079604
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- "ONORIFICENZE". quirinale.it (in Italian). 12 July 2000. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
|Juventus F.C. captains
Alessandro Del Piero