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OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Antonio Conte named Italy manager

Valerio Pennicino

Antonio Conte's next step will be on the international level. And not too far away from home, either.

After reports surfaced Wednesday that the former Juventus manager was close to becoming Italy's new manager, it became official on Thursday. Conte, who brought Juve from the Dark Ages a little over three years ago, will now be looking to get an Italian national team that has been ousted from the last two World Cups in quick fashion back on track.

The moment Conte resigned from his post as Juventus coach last month, he immediately became the No. 1 target to replace Cesare Prandelli on the Italy bench. It didn't matter who the new FIGC president ended up being, Conte was the name that was the first out of pretty much everybody who claimed to be in-the-know about who should manager Gli Azzurri. There were other candidates, surely, but Conte was the guy that everybody mentioned — and probably wanted to see hired, too.

With the ultra-questionable appointment of Carlo Tavecchio earlier in the week, the process to name a new manager obviously became Priority No. 1 on his agenda. And who you gonna call when your team needs to get back to being its best? Well, Antonio Conte did it once, so the FIGC are banking on him doing it once again.

And judging by what kind of manager he is, the odds are probably in his favor.

So there's that. And who's ready for some Simone Padoin action on the international level? Don't be shy. Raise your hand if you want to.