Though the FA Cup final loss to bitter rivals Arsenal left a sour taste in the mouths of the local Chelsea fans propping up the bar, few would doubt how good a job Antonio Conte has done in his first season on these shores.
Due to his title-winning tactical tinkerings and his animated touchline antics, the Italian has emerged as one of the most popular Blues bosses in years. While his biggest test may yet be still to come, the 47-year-old has been a wonderful addition to life in the Premier League.
Indeed, Conte seems to have had quite the impact on everyone he’s worked with. Having won three straight Serie A titles with Juventus, he impressed with the Italian national team at Euro 2016, losing in the quarter-finals.
So, it’s barely surprising to see comments from Juventus and Italy legend Gigi Buffon waxing poetic about his former boss. With quotes sourced from the Daily Mirror, the goalkeeping icon has predicted his former boss and his new side to challenge in the Champions League next season.
Much has been made about just how Chelsea will deal with the dual challenge next term, though Buffon doesn’t see too problems.
“He can make Chelsea strong in Europe – that is for sure”, he said.
“They already have players like Hazard who, for me, is already one of the top five players in the world, and this summer I’m sure they will bring in more quality.”
“Next season, under Conte, I expect that Chelsea will be one of the big challenges in the Champions League. Then coaches like Pep (Guardiola) and (Jose) Mourinho, who have had a lot of success in Europe, will also be strong. It will be their second season with their clubs and they can also challenge.”