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13th Aug 2018

Willian makes it perfectly clear he would’ve left Chelsea had Antonio Conte stayed

Simon Lloyd

Yeah, but tell us what you really think

Willian remains at Chelsea; Antonio Conte does not.

Had things played out differently this summer, there’s a good chance this would’ve been the other way round.

The Brazilian international, despite being one of the London club’s key players last season, appeared to fall out of favour with his former manager towards the end of the campaign. He was even named as a substitute for Chelsea’s FA Cup final win over Manchester United last May.

With rumours that the pair weren’t seeing eye to eye doing the rounds prior to the game at Wembley, it later appeared Willian had shown his feelings towards Conte through a creative use of emoji on his Instagram story. Though he’s later explained that it was actually his daughter that was responsible for this (yeah,¬† of course it was pal), the 30-year-old has recently lifted the lid on the pair’s ‘complicated’ relationship.

Asked by the Evening Standard if he would have remained at Stamford Bridge if Conte had stayed on as manager, Willian made it clear he would not have stuck around.

“No chance, no,” he responded. “I’m here because I want to play for Chelsea. I will only leave if Chelsea want me to go.”

Conte was replaced by his countryman, Maurizio Sarri, who steered his new team to a comfortable opening Premier League win at Huddersfield on Saturday. Clearly, the appointment of the former Napoli boss has gone down well with Willian.

“The manager tells us to play, to enjoy ourselves on the pitch,” he said.

“Is it fun to play this way? I think so. We have a lot of players with quality up front, like Eden Hazard and Pedro. Players like that want to play football. That’s why he [Sarri] talked about ‘fun’ football [after arriving at Chelsea]. This is what we will try to do this season.”

Willian was linked with moves to Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona this summer, eventually making clear he intended to stay at Chelsea after the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City.

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