Antonio Conte has insisted he is in no rush to return to coaching after Real Madrid confirmed to the Spanish Football Association that Santiago Solari will remain in charge of the team for at least the rest of the season.
Chelsea and Conte remain locked in a legal dispute relating to his acrimonious departure from the club in July, with the Italian maintaining he should be paid in full for the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge and the club claiming his behaviour contributed to his own sacking.
According to reports, Madrid considered appointing Conte as successor to the sacked Julen Lopetegui last month, but turned their attentions elsewhere amid concerns he would demand too much power and antagonise a powerful dressing room with his uncompromising style of management.
Speaking to Sky Italy, Conte hinted he did not feel Madrid was a good fit and confirmed he wants to choose his next club carefully.
“Hopping on a moving train is not good for top coaches and right now, I don’t feel the need to return immediately,” Conte said. “Maybe I’ll change my mind in two or three months — never say never — but today I’m really convinced that it’s best to wait for a project all of my own.”
Sergio Ramos reportedly played a key role in Madrid cooling their interest in Conte, voicing his concerns about him privately to president Florentino Perez and pointedly asserting publicly that “respect is won, it is not imposed” to Spanish reporters when Conte was touted as a replacement for Lopetegui.
“We’ve always got to show education and respect when we arrive at a new club, and the same has got to come back from the players, because when these kind of things are lacking, that’s when you start having problems,” Conte said.
“But I’ve got nothing to say about Real and Ramos — my history speaks for itself, both as a footballer and as a coach, and in general, it’s a winning story, so I don’t have to reply to anybody.”
Conte’s difficulties settling into life in England were a persistent theme during his time in charge of Chelsea, but he revealed that he and his family have remained living in London since his sacking.
“I’m fine the way things are — my bench is in my own home,” he said. “We’re still living in London, which is where [my daughter] Vittoria is going to school.”
He added with a smile: “I’ve told her to learn English well because she can be my interpreter in future. She’s also already got some football boots and likes football, asking me to coach her a bit. I’ve already started to teach her a few tactical and technical things.”