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Champions League final: Di Matteo silent on Chelsea future after Munich

Agencies
May 21, 2012 at 07:32am IST

Munich: After leading Chelsea to the biggest trophy in club football, Roberto di Matteo's future as manager of the London club is still in doubt.

Di Matteo had a conversation with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich after the team's penalty shoot-out win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final on Saturday, but he would not disclose what he discussed with the Russian billionaire.

ALSO SEE Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties to win Champions League

"What was discussed with the boss we don't disclose publicly," Di Matteo said after Chelsea lifted the title for the first time. "He looked very happy. The only thing I know is that I am capable of going on holiday, it's been a challenging three months. "Whatever the future holds for me I'd be happy, whatever the club decides I'll respect it."

Di Matteo silent on Chelsea future after Munich

The London club had been unable to win the Champions League until Di Matteo's brief - and officially temporary - tenure.

The issue now is whether his reign as interim manager ends with his departure from the club because Abramovich wants a more glitzy, big-name manager, or whether this triumph will persuade Abramovich that Di Matteo is the man for the job long term.

ALSO SEE Make Di Matteo full-time coach, say Chelsea players

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes knew what he'd do if he were in Abramovich's position. "If I were the owner, I'd give him a three-year contract," Heynckes said after the match.

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and Fabio Capello, who was talking to the suspended Chelsea skipper and his ex-England captain John Terry before the match, have both been mentioned as possible replacements.

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Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, but the London club had been unable to win the Champions League until Di Matteo's brief — and officially temporary — tenure. The Italian-born, 41-year-old Di Matteo took over when Andre Villas-Boas was fired following a 3-1 loss to Napoli in the round-of-16 in March.

"Nobody could have predicted this, the last three months, to finish like this is incredible. Football is like life, unpredictable and crazy," he said. "It's a great achievement."

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Chelsea also won the FA Cup, but finished sixth in the Premier League. By winning the Champions League, Chelsea have qualified for next season's competition.

"It's a huge difference, we've always said that playing in the Champions League was crucial," Di Matteo said. "I don't know what the future holds, it's the first time we won and it's a very difficult competition to win."

Di Matteo praised the "passion and heart" of his players, especially after Bayern went ahead in the 83rd minute through Thomas Mueller, before Didier Drogba equalized in the 88th.

"Going into extra-time, we had a good feeling," Di Matteo said.

With four players suspended and two defenders racing against time to overcome injuries, he admitted "it was not ideal preparation for a Champions League final."

"We just had to do the best with what we had," Di Matteo said. "In the last week it's been especially difficult, with four players suspended and two central defenders out with injury for a long time. You have to try to make the best and that's what we did and that's why we won."

Drogba's contract ends next month and he could also be on the way out.

"It's a conversation the club will have with the player. He's been a fantastic server of the club for eight years. But it was a great team effort tonight," Di Matteo said.

A former Chelsea midfielder, Di Matteo's playing career ended prematurely when he broke his leg in their colours in a UEFA Cup match in 2000.

Di Matteo scored the fastest goal in an FA Cup final held at the old Wembley Stadium and scored the last goal in an FA Cup final there before the stadium was demolished.

If given the chance, he might even manage to lead Chelsea back to the Champions League final at the new Wembley next year.

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