Antonio Conte: Italy job is world's best
Antonio Conte said he was the envy of the world after being unveiled as the new Italy coach on Tuesday.
Conte signed a two-year contract as Cesare Prandelli's successor as Italy coach during a news conference in Rome, expressing his pride and joy in being appointed to a position he feels is the ultimate in his profession.
"I cannot say that I'm not emotional because I think all coaches in the world would like to be in my position right now," Conte said. "Representing Italy, together with Brazil, is the most significant job in the world. We have four stars for four World Cups and I think that alone expresses how proud I am."
Conte last month left Juventus, with whom he won three consecutive Serie A title, just 24 hours after the start of preseason.
He initially planned to take time out, to travel around Europe gathering new coaching ideas and improve his language skills, all the while waiting for an offer from a big club to arrive.
"That call then came from a top, top club," Conte said. "Because Italy is the top. If the first call I received [from Italian FA president Carlo Tavecchio] was only informative, as soon as the second call arrived, I knew in my heart and in my head what I wanted to do.
"I've never been scared of challenges. I'm in a place where all coaches in the world like to be. I have this privilege and I'm honoured by it."
Conte will get to work on lifting the spirits of a nation depressed by a second successive group stage elimination at a World Cup. Never before had the four-time world champions failed to get beyond the preliminary stage of the finals twice in a row, but the former Juventus coach believes that does not reflect the nation's true ability, and he is determined to prove as much.
"I like challenges that could seem arduous -- just think of three years ago when I arrived in Serie A at Juventus," Conte said. "Today I arrive in what is not a simple time for the national team, but I'm convinced we can lift ourselves up because Italy have got to occupy the leading positions in the world.
"I live to win; I live to try to win. You know that the difference between winning and losing for me is like living and dying. If I lose, then it is like there is a dead man in my family, and that's the truth. Certainly this is not a good time for the national team, but I'm here to instil the mentality of the difference between winning and losing, and we will keep working until winning becomes natural."
Conte -- Italy's first coach to be born south of Rome -- will return to his roots for his first game in charge on Sept. 4, when Netherlands are the guests in Bari. Five days later, they face Norway in their first Euro 2016 qualifying match in Oslo.