Sampaoli: I almost joined Chelsea


Former Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli has revealed he almost took the manager's job at Chelsea before it was eventually given to Italy boss Antonio Conte.

Conte was announced as the next Chelsea manager at the start of April and will take over the reins from Guus Hiddink once his commitments with Italy finish at Euro 2016.

But Sampaoli has revealed he was close to taking the role and even had meetings with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

The Argentine coach has been without a job since departing his post with Chile, with whom he won the Copa America in 2015 after leading the nation into the knockout rounds of the World Cup in Brazil two years ago.

His work with Chile made him a notable candidate for the job at Chelsea after Jose Mourinho departed by mutual consent in mid-December following a horror start to the club's Premier League title defence.

"The proposal that the closest I've been to accepting was that that of Chelsea," Sampaoli said in an interview with Fox Sports Argentina.

"It was a good project, we met with the president [Abramovich] but it did not work."

The club eventually went with Conte, who enjoyed success as a player and then a coach at Juventus.