Allegri dismisses Chelsea link, stays focused on Juve

Juventus' coach Massimiliano Allegri reacts during the Italian Serie A football match on Feb 3, 2016.
Juventus' coach Massimiliano Allegri reacts during the Italian Serie A football match on Feb 3, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

MILAN • Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has again distanced himself from the Chelsea manager's job amid claims that he will replace interim manager Guus Hiddink at the end of the season.

Allegri, who steered the Turin giants to the Champions League final last year, has a contract until June 2017, but is reported to be the Blues' No. 1 choice to replace former manager Jose Mourinho.

Reports in England yesterday claimed that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had ruled Diego Simeone out of contention for the job because he does not like the Atletico Madrid coach's playing style.

Although former Juventus coach Antonio Conte has also been linked to the English football club, the spotlight is firmly on Allegri, owing to his success with the Italian outfit last season.

But, ahead of Juve's top-of-the-table clash with Napoli on Saturday, he said: "There's no truth in it. I can't deny or confirm something that doesn't exist. Once and for all, let's end this discussion."

TREMENDOUS JOB

He's performing miracles (at Juventus) considering that during the summer he didn't get any of the players he'd asked for.

GIOVANNI GALEONE, Massimiliano Allegri's mentor and former manager.

He took over from current Italy coach Conte in time for the start of last season and led Juve to a fourth consecutive Serie A title, their first league and Cup double in 20 years and their first Champions League final appearance since 2003.

They were outclassed 3-1 by Barcelona but their run to the final provided a huge boost for the club and for cash-strapped Italian football as a whole.

Juventus are currently on a good run, winning 17 of their last 18 matches in all competitions - including a club-record 14 straight league victories.

They are also through to the last 16 of the Champions League, where Bayern Munich await, and in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, where they will face Inter Milan.

Speculation that Allegri would soon quit Turin for London increased on Monday when Giovanni Galeone, who coached Allegri at several clubs during his playing career and is described as his mentor, said Chelsea had made Allegri a "fantastic offer".

"If I were Allegri, I would walk to Chelsea and I think he will end up there at the end of the season," Galeone said in an interview with Radio Radio.

"He's performing miracles (at Juventus) considering that during the summer, he didn't get any of the players he'd asked for. I think he will go to Chelsea because the offer is really fantastic."

A win for Napoli would see Maurizio Sarri's league leaders open up a five-point lead over Juventus at the top of Serie A. But, while currently in denial mode, Allegri appeared not to rule out a future move to England.

He added: "The thing that's fundamental for me right now is to get to the end of the season with Juventus and try to win some trophies, even though that won't be easy."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2016, with the headline 'Allegri dismisses Chelsea link, stays focused on Juve'. Print Edition | Subscribe