The making of Antonio Conte: a journey from Lecce to Chelsea

As featured on Guardian Sport Some footballers have the privilege of working under gifted tacticians and thoroughbred winners during their careers, but it’s the intuitive ones who take it upon themselves to become students. Antonio Conte was both influential and influenced during his decorated playing career at Juventus. The tenacious box-to-box midfielder, equipped with piercingly…

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Frank Lampard: a true Premier League icon

Frank Lampard saluting the crowd (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland Earlier this month, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard announced that he will be leaving New York City FC at the end of the current Major League Soccer campaign. Since moving to the United States, Lampard has made 25 appearances, scoring 15 goals whilst recording three assists. While he…

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Willian’s unorthodox voyage to football’s pinnacle

For Chelsea Football Club the 2015-16 season could best be described in one word as turbulent. What began as an optimistic Premier League title defence quickly descended into a tempestuous campaign, punctuated by in-fighting, accusations of betrayal, staff departures and disciplinary charges galore, eventually culminating in a 10th-place finish previously thought bewilderingly implausible before the…

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After Gabriel Batistuta came Hernán Crespo

Prior to the 2002 World Cup in Germany, Marcelo Bielsa found himself deciding who to play in the most advanced position of the field for Argentina. On one hand, an ageing Gabriel Batistuta had been Argentina’s leading striker for the past two finals. On the other, Hernán Crespo was taking huge steps towards his competitor…

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Juan Mata: a rare breed of footballer

It is the end of the 2012-13 season and Juan Mata has just received the Chelsea Player of the Year Award for the second year in a row. “I just want to say thank you to all my supporters and all my team-mates,” he tells the invite-only audience, encapsulating the essence of his personality in…

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