Chelsea reportedly sack manager Antonio Conte

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No longer in charge: Antonio Conte

Chelsea have sacked Antonio Conte, according to reports emerging on Thursday.

The club are yet to make an official announcement, and it is thought they are waiting until they can confirm Maurizio Sarri as Conte’s replacement, along with the signing of Napoli midfielder Jorginho.

Conte won the 2016-17 Premier League title in his first season with Chelsea after installing his revolutionary 3-5-2 formation.

However, things began to unravel last season as a poor transfer window saw the relationship between club and manager strained, and their title defence never quite got going.

Though he won the FA Cup in May, his fate seemed to have been sealed long before then as his exacting style began to frustrate both his players and the club hierarchy.

However, his departure has been delayed by Chelsea’s struggles to name a replacement, as Napoli have played hardball over Sarri, demanding that the Blues pay the £7million buyout that is part of the Italian’s contract with the Serie A club.

Conte was still in place as Chelsea’s pre-season began this week, and he took charge of the initial training sessions.

Cesc Fabregas ‘liked’ a message welcoming Conte’s departure on Twitter, later apologising and suggesting he had pressed the button in error.

He then wrote on Twitter: “Thank you Mister for another Premier League title and FA Cup. It wasn’t easy for me to convince you in the beginning but in the end I hope I did you proud! Good luck for the future.”

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Riyad Mahrez aiming to win Champions League with Manchester City

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Chasing European glory: Man City's new signing Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez has revealed winning the Champions League was one of his chief reasons for joining Manchester City.

The Algeria forward completed a club-record £60million switch to the Etihad Stadium earlier this week.

City set a host of records as they powered to Premier League title glory last season and transferring that success to the European stage is now one of the club’s next aims.

Speaking at his formal unveiling at the City Football Academy, Mahrez said: “It’s a club who wants to win this type of trophy. The Champions League is for big clubs and Manchester City are a big club.

“They have everything to try to win the Champions League. It is a goal. Last season they lost in the quarter-final and I know they have the ambition to go further the next season.

“That’s why I’m here, why I made the decision to come here, because I want to be part of this.”

Mahrez, 27, temporarily stopped training with Leicester after a move from the Foxes to City failed to materialise in January.

City had enquired about the 2016 PFA player of year in the closing days of the transfer window but refused to meet Leicester’s asking price.

Mahrez was keen to steer discussion away from that issue as he took questions from media.

He said: “They (City) offered and Leicester rejected the offers, but it’s the past. Now I’m here now and I’m happy. This is the past and we are looking forward now.

“The most important thing is I’m here. I’m starting a new challenge and a new life. It’s a good thing.”

Mahrez did thank City for reigniting their interest in him this summer.

He said: “That means a lot for me. I’m very happy and will give my best to this club.”

The final fee represents a considerable reduction on the £95million Leicester were reportedly asking for in January but it is still a sizeable outlay, eclipsing the £57million City paid for Aymeric Laporte last season.

Mahrez said: “The prices have been very big in every country so it doesn’t affect me.”

Mahrez has been in demand since Leicester’s run to Premier League glory in 2015-16 but he hopes the move has come at the right time in his career.

Asked if he should have left the King Power Stadium sooner, he said: “Maybe, but it is the destiny. It happened like this. If I’d moved sooner maybe I wouldn’t have been happy, I don’t know.”

Mahrez is now looking forward to working with manager Pep Guardiola and the rest of the squad, who won the title with a record 100 points and 106 goals.

He said: “He’s a big manager, he’s won a lot of things, made history with this club. I wanted to work under him and to play in this club. I didn’t hesitate at all.

“What they did was amazing work. They broke all the records in the Premier League, which is unbelievable. I’m very confident about myself and I hope to help this team to improve.”

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Watch: New signing Riyad Mahrez trains at Man City for first time

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Riyad Mahrez was straight into the thick of things as he joined his new Manchester City team-mates for his first training session at the club.

This week, the Algerian moved from Leicester City to Pep Guardiola‘s side for a £60m fee.

Mahrez is City’s first signing of the summer and has signed a five-year deal.

The 27-year-old participated in basic training drills along with the rest of the squad and showed plenty of flicks and tricks.

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