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Chelsea Hires Enzo Maresca, a Former Assistant to Pep Guardiola, as Head Coach

Enzo Maresca, a former assistant to Pep Guardiola, was hired as Chelsea head coach on Monday, just weeks after leading Leicester back to the Premier League.

The 44-year-old Italian signed a five-year deal as the replacement for Mauricio Pochettino, who left by mutual consent at the end of the season, and is Chelsea’s fourth permanent manager since the club came under American ownership midway through 2022.

“We are delighted to welcome Enzo to Chelsea. He has proven himself to be an excellent coach capable of delivering impressive results with an exciting and identifiable style,” Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said.

Maresca is four years into a coaching career that has included two spells at Manchester City. He was first a reserve-team coach for the 2020-21 season and then for the 2022-23 season was the assistant to Guardiola.

Between those year-long stints at City, Maresca coached at Parma in Italy and he has just spent a year at Leicester, which he led to the second-tier Championship title and an immediate return to the Premier League.

“To join Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in the world, is a dream for any coach. It is why I am so excited by this opportunity,” he said. “I look forward to working with a very talented group of players and staff to develop a team that continues the club’s tradition of success and makes our fans proud.”

Maresca has established a reputation for playing the kind of attractive, possession-based football preached by Guardiola, who has won six league titles in seven years at City.

“Enzo has deeply impressed us in our discussions leading up to his appointment. His ambitions and work ethic align with those of the club,” Stewart and Winstanley said.

Chelsea’s owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, will hope they have finally found the right coach after a turbulent two seasons in control of the two-time Champions League winner.

Pochettino followed Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter at Stamford Bridge, but only lasted one season in charge of a club that has spent more than $1 billion on new players under the new regime. Former player and manager Frank Lampard also had a spell as caretaker last year.

Pochettino finished the season well, leading the team to sixth place and European qualification, and news of his departure came as a shock to many in Chelsea’s young squad.


By STEVE DOUGLAS AP Sports Writers

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