Andrea Pirlo believes Antonio Conte would be a success at Chelsea but has warned the players that he is not someone to be messed with.
Conte is tipped to become the Chelsea manager as of next season after finishing up with the Italy national team following Euro 2016.
The 46-year-old was the man who signed Pirlo to Juventus in 2011, and the two went on to win three Serie A titles together at the club.
Pirlo revealed his "love" for Conte and has backed him to be successful at Chelsea - if they decide to appoint him.
"I love the man, I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. I know if he takes a job, any job, it will have to be on his terms," he told the Mirror.
"The players he wants to sign, those he wants to get rid of, the style he wants to play.
"If you sign him as your coach and then as the owner you want to start making decisions, he is not the coach for you.
"If you let him get on with things and do his methods, then you will have a team that plays attractive football and will, without doubt, be successful."
However, Pirlo has warned the Chelsea players - and owner Roman Abramovich - that there is a "beast" within Conte.
"There is a beast in him. I have been in his dressing room at half-time when we have been winning, but he comes in and will be throwing full bottles of water around because of a mistake we made or because he feels we should be further ahead," he said.
"His life is football. I know he is up until 3-4am in the morning, studying videos, looking at errors, studying the opposition of the next game. It is a good job Elisabetta is such an understanding wife, and if he takes the Chelsea job then she will have plenty of time to enjoy London, because he has two wives – Elisabetta and football.
"I even know he will turn on the bedroom lights in the middle of the night because he has thought of something he needs to write down – you will not find a more understanding woman than her.”
He added: "I have played under a lot of great managers.
"But I can say that Conte is a genius. Like all men who possess genius, he is a little mad.
"The man can be a beast, a dressing room when he is angry is one of the most dangerous places you can be."
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