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 By Ben Gladwell

Italian FA boss not giving up on Chelsea manager Antonio Conte

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Italian Football Association (FIGC) commissioner Roberto Fabbricini has not ruled out the possibility of Chelsea's Antonio Conte returning as national coach.

Fabbricini said he would respect Conte's contractual situation at Stamford Bridge, with his comments coming after vice-commissioner Alessandro Costacurta appeared to rule out the possibility of Conte returning.

The Chelsea coach, who led Italy to the quarterfinals at Euro 2016, continues to be linked with a second spell in the job and Fabbricini said the door was not closed to anybody.

"He [Conte] has been given the backing of his club and has a contract which still has 18 months to run on it," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We're being very cautious, but anything is possible.

"As far as I am concerned every coach has a sense of duty to the Italy team in their hearts, but they are professionals and have other issues to face so let's just wait and see."

Italy under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio will be in charge for friendlies against Argentina and England next month, but Fabbricini said Costacurta "is going to assess the availabilities of various people."

He added: "Some of them have very long contracts, others have the issue of wanting to work at another of Europe's top clubs.

"We're being very attentive, and you all know what profile we're looking for. The contacts have got to be very prudent and we have to speak with people who are already under contract, so we need to be diplomatic.

"People who are already under contract abroad need to be left to work in peace and quiet.

"We're discussing it and we're assessing various solutions and trying to peruse the horizon for names who have not already been mentioned by the press."

However, Fabbricini said there were not any realistic candidates currently working in Serie A.

Gian Piero Ventura, sacked following Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup, became coach in 2016 after gaining experience in the lower leagues with Pisa and Bari and then with Torino in Serie A.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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