SACKED! Di Matteo pays price for Chelsea's disastrous run of results after being in charge for just six months
19:03 GMT, 21 November 2012
How Sportsmail's Neil Ashton led the way on Di Matteo's Chelsea sacking
Monday morning… Abramovich prepared to wield axe if results don't improve
Tuesday night… Guardiola and Benitez in frame to replace Di Matteo
Roman Abramovich fired Roberto Di Matteo this morning after an 'unacceptable' run of results.
The Chelsea owner, furious with the club's disastrous Champions League campaign, sacked him this morning just hours after their 3-0 defeat at Juventus and training was cancelled for the day.
Di Matteo was informed of the decision during an emergency 4am meeting at the club's Cobham training base, just after the club had touched down back in England after the hour-and-a-half flight from Italy.
Chelsea executives met at an emergency meeting at Stamford Bridge at 9am this morning after telling Di Matteo that his reign was over just six months after he led them to glory in the European Cup.
Abramovich's No 1 target is former
Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, but the Blues owner needs to persuade him
to end his year-long sabbatical from football. If he fails in this bid, he will turn to Rafa Benitez to take the helm.
Scroll down for video
Game over: Di Matteo has been sacked, six months after landing the Champions League
Taxi! Bookmakers Coral delivered this stunt outside Stamford Bridge after Di Matteo's exit
Chelsea statement on Di Matteo – in full
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 club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA 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.
Guardiola is spending time in Manhattan with his family after four years in charge at the Nou Camp and is the Russian's top target to take over.
However, sources close to the 41-year-old say it will take a 'phenomenal' offer for the manager to change his mind.
It is understood Guardiola's advisers are willing to begin negotiations with prospective employers ahead of next season.
Discreet enquires from Chelsea, City and Milan have already taken place, with all three clubs keen to steal a march on their rivals in the race to land the talented manager.
Benitez is understood to be willing to take the job until the end of the season. This is despite turning down a similar offer last season after Andre Villas-Boas was sacked.
The former Liverpool and Inter Milan boss is addressing a conference in Abu Dhabi today and is scheduled to fly back into London tomorrow.
Abramovich was furious that the team, who started the season with the chance to win seven trophies, are already in freefall.
Although he was prepared to overlook
the Community Shield defeat against Manchester City, he was furious with
the 4-1 defeat against Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup.
Down and out Chelsea were soundly beaten by Juventus in the Champions League last night
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Abramovich’s circle made it clear that
they had to play seven games to 'qualify' for the Community shield and
that it should be treated seriously.
Likewise the 4-1 defeat against Atletico
in Monaco came after they won the Champions League final against Bayern
Munich and they wanted to win it.
Chelsea need a miracle to qualify from
Group E of the Champions League and are in danger of becoming the first
holders in the history of the competition to go out in the group phase.
They are four points behind this
weekend’s opponents Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League and
cannot afford another defeat after last week’s 2-1 loss at West
Who's next Guardiola and Benitez are in the frame to take the helm at Stamford Bridge
Latest betting on next Chelsea boss
8/13 Rafa Benitez
6/4 Pep Guardiola
8/1 Harry Redknapp
8/1 Steve Clarke
10/1 Larent Blanc
14/1 Jose Mourinho
16/1 Guus Hiddink
16/1 Fabio Capello
20/1 Gianfranco Zola
20/1 John Terry
20/1 Avram Grant
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 club faces a difficult task ahead
in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA 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
'The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.'
Hero to zero: Just months after landing the club an FA Cup and Champions League double, Di Matteo is out
Di Matteo's 'unacceptable' run of results
October 23: Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Chelsea 1 (Champions League)
October 28: Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3 (Premier League)
October 31: Chelsea 5 Manchester United 4 (Capital One Cup)
November 3: Swansea 1 Chelsea 1 (Premier League)
November 7: Chelsea 3 Shakhtar Donetsk 2 (Champions League)
November 11: Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1 (Premier League)
November 17: West Bromwich 2 Chelsea 1 (Premier League)
November 20: Juventus 3 Chelsea 0 (Champions League)
Eight managers, ten trophies, one billion pounds…
Claudio Ranieri (September 2000 to May 2004 – Abaramovich bought the club in June 2003)
Jose Mourinho (June 2004 – September 2007)
Avram Grant (September 2007 – May 2008)
Felipe Scolari (July 2008 – February 2009)
Guus Hiddink (February 2009 – May 2009)
Carlo Ancelotti (June 2009 – May 2011)
Andre Villas-Boas (June 2011 – March 2012)
Roberto Di Matteo (March 2012 – November 2012)
VIDEO: Di Matteo accepts full responsibility for the loss to Juventus after the match
… And fans react to di Matteo's departure…