Sport

‘Astounding, unbelievable, out of touch’: Football world rocked as Roberto Di Matteo axed by trigger-happy Chelsea

By Dean Wilkins

Trailing Manchester City and United in the league, and being on the cusp of crashing out of the Champions League is ‘not good enough’ for Chelsea’s standards so Roberto Di Matteo was axed today.

The decision has come as a shock to fans – even for trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich – as Chelsea suffered a 3-0 defeat to Juventus last night, putting qualification hopes out of their hands.

And having won the club’s first-ever Champions League trophy and another FA Cup after taking over from short-term manager Andre Villas-Boas, Di Matteo cemented his place as a fans’ favourite – today’ announcement has shook the world of football.

Former England and Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand said: “Wow, Chelsea have sacked their manager!! I’m a bit late I know but its a madness.”

BBC’s Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said: “Roberto Di Matteo has been fired by Chelsea. The Roman emperor puts the thumbs down yet again.”

Fellow MediaCityUK presenter Dan Walker said: “Binning Di Matteo seems harsh, brutal, a bit daft but sadly inevitable. What Abramovich wants…

“Abramovitch is obsessed with Barcelona. That is what he wants. Until he gets it, this will never stop. Pep [Guardiola] is the next step.”

Manchester City biographer and writer Gary James said: “Unbelievable that Chelsea have parted company with Di Matteo. Astounding!”

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha said: “Can’t believe Roberto Di Matteo has been sack after such a good record. Especially when I think he had 2cope with Terry scandals. #harsh”

Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara said: “Roberto Di Matteo sacked after winning Champions League and FA cup in his first season, the next Chelsea manager has to better that!”

Having churned through football’s greatest managers around, the position will have to run parallel with a monstrous wage packet as former Barcelona mastermind Pep Guardiola leads the front of the pack for possible replacements.

But the Catalan legend – who is regularly linked with any vacant position – is adamant he will continue his year-long sabbatical before considering his future.

A Chelsea spokesman said: “Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with manager Roberto Di Matteo.

“The team’s recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.”

The statement continued: “The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts.

“The owner and the board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club’s history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.

“The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.”

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