Chelsea sack Di Matteo

Chelsea's madcap managerial merry-go-round spun for the umpteenth time on Wednesday when Roberto Di Matteo, who guided the club to Champions League glory just six months ago, was sacked.

Winning Europe's elite club competition had been a burning desire for Roman Abramovich since the Russian billionaire took over as the owner at Stamford Bridge in 2003.  Di Matteo found the 'Holy Grail' against all the odds in May but Tuesday's 0-3 reverse at Juventus, a defeat that leaves Chelsea on the brink of Champions League elimination, prompted Abramovich to end the reign of his eighth manager at the club.

"The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and board felt 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 said on their website.

Chelsea, who have won only two of their last eight games in all competitions, added they would be making an announcement shortly regarding a new manager with bookmakers listing former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez and ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as early favourites.

"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."

Di Matteo was assistant coach before taking over when Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas was sacked in March.

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