Alessandro Costacurta has stated that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is no longer in the race to become Italy's new national team coach, despite claiming the Blues manager was in contention just last week.
The 48-year-old Stamford Bridge hot seat holder had been heavily linked back to the position he held from 2014 to 2016 following the sacking of his successor Gian Piero Ventura. which came after Azzurri's failure to qualify for this summer's World Cup finals.
Speculation continued to surface even after the west London boss categorically stated he only had eyes to see out his contract with the Premier League club, which still has 18 months left to run, with Costacurta claiming the Italian was still in the running, alongside former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.
"Conte said he had 18 months left on his Chelsea contract and would respect it? We’ll see, he’s still a candidate", the former AC Milan defender said, as quoted by football.london.
“We heard from (Roberto) Mancini last night, but it was by chance. Now we have some time to think things through.”
However, after seemingly receiving mixed messages from Conte's assurances to Chelsea that he has no eyes to leave Stamford Bridge before the end of next season, the 51-year-old has since revealed his resignation to the fact that the former national coach is off limits.
"The availability on the market is going to be a fundamental aspect in the choice of the future Italy coach", the Italian told Sky Sport Italia.
"Conte, for example, has ruled himself out of the running for the national team job because he has said he wants to be a club coach for the next 18 months.
"Even [Roberto] Mancini is contracted to a club, so it's not as easy as it might seem to get them. While it's true we've got hugely talented coaches, we still need to see who is available."