London, Jun 14 (IANS/RIA Novosti): Chelsea caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed permanent coach, signing a two-year contract after taking the side to its first Champions League title, the club confirmed.
He had been the interim coach since Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas was fired in March.
"Roberto's quality was clear for all to see when he galvanized the squad last season and helped the club make history, and the owner and board are very pleased he will be continuing his good work," chief executive Ron Gourlay said.
The fervour to make Di Matteo's appointment permanent had been swelling even before he took the team to a victory on penalties against Bayern Munich in their home stadium last month in the Champions League final.
Perhaps decisively, it was the one trophy that owner Roman Abramovich had desperately sought since buying the club in 2003.
"I'm obviously delighted to have been appointed as manager and first-team coach. We all achieved incredible success last season that made history for this great club. Our aim is to continue building on that and I'm already planning and looking forward to the squad's return for pre-season," said the Italian, who becomes Chelsea's seventh permanent appointment since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.
As a player, Di Matteo spent six seasons at Chelsea after signing from Lazio in 1996. He returned to Stamford Bridge as assistant coach under Villas-Boas at the start of last season.
Di Matteo is the fourth Italian to manage Chelsea over the last 15 years after Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri and Carlo Ancelotti all had stints at the club, with varying degrees of success.