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Conte replaces Del Neri at Juventus

Former Juventus captain Antonio Conte has returned to the Bianconeri as manager, replacing outgoing boss Luigi Del Neri.

Juve officially revealed on Tuesday that Del Neri, 60, had left the club, and Conte was later confirmed as his successor on a two-year deal.

A statement on the club's official wesbite said: "Juventus Football Club announces that Luigi Del Neri will not be the manager for season 2011-12. President Andrea Agnelli, the directors and the team would like to thank him for his hard work and wish him a successful professional future.''

A poor season saw Del Neri's Juve completely miss out on European football after a seventh-place finish and the former Sampdoria boss parted company with the Bianconeri just over a year since he joined the club.

The writing had been on the wall for Del Neri for some time and he had said on May 21: "Juventus will change coach. I was informed of this decision. I wish good luck to whoever will follow me but I do not know who he is.''

The appointment of Conte, who spent 12 years with Juve as a player, is likely to appease Bianconeri fans, though he has enjoyed only moderate success as a coach with Bari, Atalanta and most recently Siena, whom he led to promotion to Serie A.

"I always wanted to go to Juve,'' Conte said. "It was my constant thought. I thank director general [Giuseppe] Marotta and president [Andrea] Agnelli. For me, it's a homecoming.

"I should point out that arriving at a big club like Juve brings great satisfaction. I bring the principles of play, the ideas that have accompanied me on my journey.

"The main objective is to return to being contenders, in keeping with the history of Juve. We will do everything to take the club back to those levels.''

The last time Juve appointed a former player was in 2009, when Ciro Ferrara lasted just six months before being sacked and Conte, 41, becomes Juve's fourth manager since Claudio Ranieri left the club in 2009.


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