Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte reportedly turned down an approach from Spanish giants Real Madrid so he could receive a large pay-off from the west London club following his Stamford Bridge sacking.
The Mirror report that the Italian manager was placed on Real Madrid's shortlist for candidates to replace former boss Zinedine Zidane, who left his role at the Santiago Bernabeu despite winning three Champions League trophies in a row. Los Blancos appointed then-Spain manager Julen Lopetegui in controversial circumstances.
However, Conte turned down the opportunity to speak to the La Liga club as he felt that he would be better off sitting tight and waiting for the £9m compensation fee owed to him by Chelsea, instead of receiving a lower fee from the Blues hierarchy and taking up one of the most attractive jobs in sport.
The 48-year-old wanted the £9m fee to be paid in one whole sum, but the west London club's compensation policy - which involves paying the sacked manager's salary for a year after they leave until they find a new club - meant that the two parties were have been deadlocked since the end of the season regarding Conte's departure.
The Italian even took the first pre-season session of the 2018/19 season this week, despite Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri waiting in the wings to be appointed manager, but Conte's departure was made official by the Premier League club on Friday morning.
The Italian arrived in west London two seasons ago following a dismal 2015/16 campaign for the Blues, where they finished in tenth place in the Premier League. The Italian made an instant impact in English football, winning the title by a seven-point margin in his first season.
And despite a fifth placed finish the following season, Conte guided Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph in May of this year, beating Manchester United 1-0 in the final at Wembley.