Italian manager Maurizio Sarri was appointed as Chelsea manager with the promise of bringing “entertaining football”. The 59-year-old replaces compatriot Antonio Conte, who was sacked on Friday after two years at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri led Napoli to two second-place finishes in his three seasons in charge of the Serie A side. Sarri will be succeeded by Carlo Ancelotti in May.
“It is an exciting new period in my career,” said Sarri.
“I hope we can provide some entertaining football for our fans and that we will be competing for trophies at the end of the season, which is what this club deserves.”
Sarri is the 13th manager to be appointed by Blues owner Roman Abramovich since 2003. This includes Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink on two occasions.
The Italian’s appointment had been widely anticipated, with Chelsea agreeing to bring him to Stamford Bridge. He was compensated for skipping out on the remaining two years on his Napoli deal.
He coached part-time in 2001 before deciding to take a chance for “the only job I would do for free”.
Sarri is well-known as an attacking manager, with Napoli’s haul of 94 goals in the 2016-17 league as proof. It remains the highest number of goals scored in a Serie A season since the turn of the century.
In three years, Napoli scored 251 league goals – more than any other side in the Italian top flight.
He is Chelsea’s sixth Italian manager since Gianluca Vialli in 1998, following Claudio Ranieri, Ancelotti, Roberto di Matteo and Conte.
However, despite his domestic success, he failed to guide the Naples club past the last-16 stage of the Champions League. They finished third in their group last season behind Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk.
He joined Napoli in 2015 after guiding Empoli to the top flight. Chelsea is his first managerial job outside his home country and he has yet to win a major trophy.