Chelsea's Maurizio Sarri learned about Napoli exit from television
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri said he learned he was no longer Napoli's coach when he saw Carlo Ancelotti arriving in Rome on the television.
Sarri, 59, guided Napoli to second in Serie A last season and still had a year left on his contract, but it contained a clause that meant either he or the club could terminate the deal by May 31.
While he said he was undecided about his future, he knew the decision had been made when he saw Ancelotti arriving.
"I was out for dinner with [Giuseppe] Pompilio, the assistant of [sporting director Cristiano] Giuntoli, and I was talking to him about whether I should stay or not," Sarri told Il Mattino. "We turned the TV on and saw Ancelotti walking into Filmauro [the headquarters of Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis' film company]. What did I think? I'll keep my initial thought to myself."
Ancelotti was named Napoli's coach a few days later, with Sarri ultimately moving to Chelsea -- but not before the clubs negotiated an agreement that blocked him from taking more than one of his former Napoli players with him.
Sarri said he could quite easily have remained at Napoli after taking them the closest they have been to winning the Scudetto since 1990.
"I still don't know [why I was sacked]," he said. "You'd have to ask the club. But now I've got Chelsea and I'm delighted. There were reasons why I wanted to stay at Napoli and there were reasons why I had some doubts.
"The contract that the president wanted included a release clause that expired on May 31, yet on May 21, they already signed a contract with Ancelotti."
Sarri nevertheless thanked De Laurentiis for "giving me the chance to coach the club that belongs in my heart," and one he hopes will be successful under his successor.
"I hope so for the city and for the fans," Sarri said. "Naples is an extraordinary city and they deserve to win the Scudetto. I, as a Napoli fan, am happy that Carlo is now the coach because not only has he won wherever he has been, but he has always been liked by everybody.
"That means his human and professional qualities are extraordinary."
In the meantime, Sarri is settling into his new surroundings well and enjoying life in the Premier League, where Chelsea have won their first four games.
"It's totally different here," Sarri said. "It's an absolute festival and a pleasure to arrive in the stadiums and see all the fans wearing different shirts but drinking beers together. I even sign autographs for fans of our opponents on the side of the pitch before and after the game.
"There are games with so much intensity and such physicality. English football is different to Italian and it's played in extraordinary structures."Now he is looking to repeat the exploits of compatriot Antonio Conte by winning the Premier League in his first season, although he knows it will not be easy.
"I didn't win anything at Napoli whereas Conte won here, so it's difficult to take his place," he said.