Juve look to Conte as Delneri sacked

TURIN - Juventus coach Luigi Delneri has been sacked and will leave after Sunday's final game of the season against Napoli.

"The club told me of their decision during the week," Delneri, whose side lie seventh in Serie A after a second succesive season of woe, told a news conference on Saturday.

"It is not my defeat. I hope it is the right choice. Good luck to whoever replaces me."

The twice European Cup winners, Italy's best supported and most decorated club domestically, also finished seventh last term and have only an outside chance of overhauling sixth-placed AS Roma and sealing a Europa League spot on Sunday.

Former Juve midfielder Antonio Conte, who led Siena to promotion to Serie A this term, is the bookmakers' favourite to take over.

Conte was at the centre of one of the best midfields in Europe in the 1990s and early 2000s as Juve routinely dominated Serie A and consistently reached the latter stages of the Champions League.

Since then Juve have endured a dreadful spell on and off the field.

Their 2006 demotion for match-fixing was followed by an immediate return to the top flight and a third place finish in 2008, but last term both Ciro Ferrara and Alberto Zaccheroni failed to stop the rot and they ended up a lowly seventh.

Delneri was brought in having guided Sampdoria to fourth last term but Juve again struggled in the transfer market, failing to recruit the very top talent with the stigma of match-fixing still haunting the club.

Juve will move to a new stadium for next season on the site of their old Stadio Delle Alpi having shared with Torino at the cramped Stadio Olimpico since 2006.

They will become the first Italian club to own their own ground, but difficulties finiding a sponsor for the new stadium have again undermined their attempt at renaissance.

Conte brought Bari up to Serie A two years ago but then left after a disagreement before a short unhappy spell at Atalanta, who have themselves recently been linked in the media with a move for former boss Delneri now they are back in the top flight.


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