The Chelsea model will win with Antonio Conte, and win without him

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Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte during Monday's embarrassment at Watford.

It is now, surely, a matter of time before ruthless Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich makes Antonio Conte the eighth permanent head coach dismissed during his transformational near 15-year stint on the King’s Road.

That is what a 4-1 defeat at Watford during a ‘must-win game’ will do to your job prospects.

Thanks for the 2016/17 Premier League title, but arrivederci. Can the revolving door please stop to let ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique embark.

As ever when the time for a purge at Stamford Bridge arrives, institutional impatience gets blamed. Yet unalloyed acceptance of this reality underpins their success.

Chelsea’s model exhibits a long-term commitment to short-term cycles.

Their triumphs make a mockery of the trope that continuity is key. They win with Conte – and win without him.

Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti and Andre Villas-Boas are just some of the luminaries who can attest to this.

The Abramovich style has more in common with the managerial shark tank of Serie A’s middle ranks than it does the old-boys network found in many Premier League boardrooms. The scales are just different.

Sir Alex Ferguson witnessed 10 different incumbents, permanent or temporary, on the Chelsea bench from Abramovich’s takeover in June 2003 until he called time on his epoch-defining, 26-year spell in charge of Manchester United in May 2013. The comparative major trophy haul between the clubs throughout this spell stood at United 11-11 Chelsea.

Vastly contrasting approaches, but the same end result.

Chelsea’s cold-blooded adherence to their principles sets them apart. It takes a unique club to sack Mourinho twice.

Too many sides in England vacillate between future desires and an immediate pursuit of results – see United’s fumbles in the post-Ferguson vacuum.

The traditional role of manager does not exist at Stamford Bridge. Neither does the job title.

Head coaches are anathema to the traditional British school. They are intrinsic to Chelsea.

Roman Abramovich (c) in happier times at Chelsea.

Roman Abramovich (c) in happier times at Chelsea.

Interchangeable figures man the training pitch, plan out tactics and select the match-day squad. They have input to recruitment, but overall responsibility falls to someone else – in recent years technical director Michael Emenalo, now director and Abramovich-acolyte Marina Granovskaia.

The emasculation of the manager figure has increased since powers were devolved to Mourinho, with mixed results, upon his return from 2013-15. During this spell, supreme talents such as Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku were sold for figures way below their current market values.

Granovskaia, who is officially “mainly responsible for player transactions”, is entrusted to guarantee this will not reoccur.

Despite his protestations, Conte must have been aware of this reality. It was no secret that he tore himself away from Juventus – the club of his heart – in 2014 because of terminal disagreements about transfer policy.

Both he and Chelsea will have thrashed out the rules upon his hiring. Or the contract extension that followed last July.

As with any model, it is not without its hitches. No matter how fluid.

Chelsea are the Premier League’s second-biggest spenders behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City since the Spaniard’s arrival in 2016. Comparative – and approximate – net spends of £88.8 million (Dh455.3m) to £342.7m (Dh1.8 billion), however, speak volumes of where the clubs are currently at.

A new bully is in town.

Then Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein vividly claimed less than two months after Abramovich’s entrance that he had “parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us”. But with a costly divorce and £1bn (Dh5.1bn) development of a new Stamford Bridge to pay for, ammunition is in shorter supply these days.

Conte’s recent gripes about recruitment also ring true. Midfielder Ross Barkley appears damaged goods, while United seem to have the better end of the Lukaku-Alvaro Morata and Nemanja Matic-Tiemoue Bakayoko transfers.

A leaner Chelsea have to fight smarter to usurp the division’s current top two.

Recent history shows they will keep faith in their core strategy, refine it and ultimately conquer. Whoever is in the dugout to oversee this is almost incidental.

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Top 10 Instagram posts of Euro 2016

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Top 10: The most poppular Euro 2016 posts

Apart from being one of the elite international tournaments in sport, Euro 2016 was a social media sensation this summer.

It was one of the most talked about sporting events ever, with 195 million Facebook users having 950 million likes, comments or posts from June 10 to July 10.

Meanwhile, throughout the tournament in France, 61 million people on Instagram had 476 million likes, comments or posts.

Here, we look at the 10 most popular posts from Euro 2016.

CRISTIANO RONALDO (PORTUGAL) – 2.1M LIKES

🙏

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

GARETH BALE (WALES) – 920K LIKES

WOW! 👀

A photo posted by Gareth Bale (@garethbale11) on

PAUL POGBA (FRANCE)- 506K LIKES

MESUT OZIL (GERMANY) – 488K LIKES

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (POLAND) – 309K LIKES

WAYNE ROONEY (ENGLAND) – 181K LIKES

😀

A photo posted by Wayne Rooney (@waynerooney) on

MARC BATRA (SPAIN) – 170K LIKES

LEONARDO BONUCCI (ITALY) – 98K LIKES

KEVIN DE BRUYNE (BELGIUM) – 90.1K LIKES

My biggest supporter 😍. He gives me my power

A photo posted by Kevin De Bruyne (@kevindebruyne) on

XHERDAN SHAQIRI (SWITZERLAND) – 75.7K LIKES

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The social media legacy of Euro 2016

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#TrueLove: Ronaldo's Instagram post with the trophy

As the dust settles on another successful European Championship, the tournament of 2016 won’t just be remembered for the passion and unexpected success of Wales and Iceland, but also as one of the most talked about sporting events EVER on social media.

This was undoubtedly the year that, more than ever, fans, players and teams connected to share their excitement (and sometimes disappointment) for the beautiful game.

This was particularly true on Instagram, which can count on football as its most popular sport; more than 100 million people follow a football account and one in five of the most followed accounts are football related.

From discussing England’s shock exit against Iceland to Ireland’s crucial win over Italy, this year’s Euros was one of the most Instagrammed sporting events ever.

During the tournament, over 61 million football fans connected with their favourite players and teams on the platform and shared an incredible 476 million posts, likes and comments – with 59 million of these during the final alone.

One of the most exciting things has been seeing football players and teams build a direct, authentic connection with their fans. International stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, whose celebration after Portugal’s semi-final victory was the most liked Instagram image of the tournamentwith 2.1million likes, uses his account to share personal, behind-the-scenes moments.

🙏

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Since the final, Ronaldo has shared a series of these off-pitch images with fans, from cuddling with the trophy on the plane home, to videos chanting with team-mates on the victory parade, to celebrating with his family, which have been liked by fans all over the world, more than 19 million times.

Te amo❤️❤️🔝

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Wow👀👀👀👀

A video posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Travel with family ✌️👌❤️❤️💋🔝

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Even in defeat, players turned to Instagram to express themselves, Antoine Griezmann sharing a poignant post after losing to Portugal in the final.

C'est avec beaucoup de tristesse que je poste ce message... Mais Fier d'etre Français ! On reviendra plus fort 💪🇫🇷

A photo posted by Antoine Griezmann (@antogriezmann) on

This year, football fans were also able to experience the tournament on Instagram through video. Over the past six months, there has been a 150 percent rise in video views on Instagram and the Euros was no exception, with 514 million video views by fans during the tournament.

Some of the most watched videos include Gareth Bale chanting with Wales fans, Sergio Ramos sharing antics from training and Paul Pogba with Jerome Boateng sharing a moment in the changing room after France beat Germany in the semi-final. It helped fans get unparalleled access to one of the biggest sporting tournaments in the world.

Our fans 🔝💯 #TogetherStronger

A video posted by Gareth Bale (@garethbale11) on

Que el ritmo no pare. ¡Seguimooos! / Never let up. We carry on! #VamosEspaña @alvaromorata

A video posted by Sergio Ramos (@sr4oficial) on

Sport in general is booming on Instagram. The community has grown to 500 million and a third of those users (165 million) follow a sports-related account – football, tennis, motor racing and more.

It’s only a matter of weeks before we all get to experience the magic of the Olympic Games, too, and there’s no doubt that the beauty of Brazil will be shown through the eyes of the athletes and Instagrammers from around the world.

A FEW MORE POPULAR INSTAGRAM POSTS FROM EURO 2016 – 

#Euro2016Final

A video posted by Mick Jagger (@mickjagger) on

Che squadra... Bravi ragazzi!! Adesso non ci fermiamo!! 💪💪 🇮🇹🇮🇹🇮🇹

A photo posted by Andrea Pirlo Official (@andreapirlo21) on

Thanks for taking the time out to come yesterday. What a day!

A video posted by Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) on

Glad, moved and proud 🇫🇷 @equipedefrance #fiersdetrebleus #FRAROU @whufc_official #8 #teamboumbam #27

A video posted by Dimitri Payet (@payetdimitri27) on

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