Roberto Di Matteo appointed permanent Chelsea manager
Chelsea have appointed Roberto Di Matteo their permanent manager on a two-year contract.
"Roman Abramovich may have wanted to appoint former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as the permanent successor to Andre Villas-Boas as Chelsea manager - but who can argue that Roberto Di Matteo deserves a two-year deal after winning the Champions League and the FA Cup?
"The Italian brought order to Chelsea's tactics and unity to a fractured dressing room. He brought the so-called 'old guard' back onside after the turbulence of the Villas-Boas era and produced the finest reference he could by beating holders Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final then winning the trophy against Bayern Munich in their own Allianz Arena.
"Di Matteo now faces the different challenge of a long-term appointment. He can approach the task with the confidence his successes have given him and with the goodwill of fans given the highest high by Chelsea's Champions League success."
"We all achieved incredible success last season that made history for this great club," said the 42-year-old.
"Our aim is to continue building on that and I'm already looking forward to the squad's return for pre-season."
Former MK Dons and West Brom manager Di Matteo lost just three of his 21 matches in charge, and several of the club's senior players voiced their support for him as permanent boss following the Champions League final success over Bayern Munich and FA Cup final victory over Liverpool.
Di Matteo joined the club as a player in 1996, signing from Lazio, and scored 26 goals in 175 Chelsea appearances before retiring because of injury at the age of 31.
The midfielder's first season at Stamford Bridge had ended with him scoring in the first minute of the FA Cup final against Middlesbrough as Chelsea won their first major trophy for 26 years.
He also found the net in a League Cup final win over Middlesbrough in 1998 and in the 2000 FA Cup final against Aston Villa.
Di Matteo became a manager for the first time at third-tier MK Dons in July 2008 and the following summer he moved up a division to West Bromwich Albion.
Di Matteo's managerial record
Milton Keynes Dons 2008-09
- 52 games - 27 wins, 11 draws and 14 defeats
West Bromwich Albion 2009-11
- 83 games - 40 wins, 19 draws and 24 defeats
Chelsea (interim) 2012
- 21 games - 13 wins, 5 draws and 3 defeats
He took the Midlands club into the Premier League at the first attempt before leaving in February 2011 after a run of 13 defeats in 18 games.
"Roberto's quality was clear for all to see when he galvanised the squad last season and helped the club make history, and the owner and board are very pleased he will be continuing his good work," said Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay.
"We all believed he was a young coach with much to offer when we first asked him to take charge and the manner in which he worked with us, the players and all the staff, and the success that followed, made him the clear choice when it came to selecting the person to take us forward in the seasons to come.
"Although he has set the bar very high in the short time he has been in charge, we know that Roberto is the right man to lead Chelsea on to further success."