Carlo Ancelotti has been appointed the new manager of Chelsea less than 24 hours after quitting his post at AC Milan.
|Ancelotti took charge of his last Milan match against Fiorentina [AFP]
Ancelotti, who announced his departure as Milan coach on Sunday, has signed a three-year-contract and will start on July 1, the English Premier League club said in a statement.
"Carlo was the outstanding candidate for the job. He has proved over a long period his ability to build teams that challenged for, and have been successful in, major domestic and European competitions," the statement read.
"We are sure everybody at Chelsea will give him a warm welcome and we are all looking forward to working with him."
Guus Hiddink, who won the FA Cup with the club against Everton on Saturday, had taken the role of temporary coach after the dismissal of Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari in February.
Ancelotti's appointment comes a year after the Italian first spoke to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich about the job.
The 49-year-old wrote in his recent autobiography that when he met Abramovich after former Blues boss Avram Grant was sacked, the Russian billionaire admitted he wanted a team with more "personality".
Ancelotti is attractive to Abramovich after winning two European Champions League titles with Milan in 2003 and 2007 and now he will get the chance to fulfil Abramovich's wish for a more entertaining team who can finally succeed in Europe's elite club competition.
Speaking on Chelsea's website, Ancelotti said: "Milan was a great experience – for five years I played with a great team, with a lot of success, and then spent eight years training a great team," he said.
"Now it is time for a change and Chelsea. For me it is a great experience with a great team."
He is likely to be given a substantial transfer kitty, with bids for Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo, Valencia striker David Villa and CSKA Moscow winger Yuri Zhirkov all on the cards.
Ancelotti, who also won the Italian title with Milan in 2004, has previously coached at Reggiana, Parma and Juventus.
His track record of success dates back to his playing days when he also won two league titles and two European Cups with Milan.
He becomes the fifth Chelsea manager in 21 months following Jose Mourinho, Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Hiddink.
Ancelotti will take over a squad who won their first trophy of the post-Mourinho era on Saturday.
|Ancelotti has one of the best records of any coach in football [GALLO/GETTY]
That FA Cup final victory – the club's first silverware since 2007 – brought a triumphant end to the brief reign of Hiddink, who has resumed his role as Russia coach on a full-time basis.
But while Hiddink is gone, it won't be easy for Ancelotti to replicate the Dutchman's impact in west London.
Hiddink earned huge respect in the Chelsea dressing room with his direct, open approach, in contrast to the laidback style of his predecessor Scolari who was unable to get his message across due to his lack of English.
Ancelotti is believed to have spent several months learning English in preparation for his move to the Bridge, but is still some way from being fluent.
Although he gave an interview in English to Chelsea's website to announce his arrival, he admitted it would be hard to grasp the language immediately.
"For me it is not easy. I want to learn, I want to improve and when we start the new season I want to speak well because it is important for me to speak with the players, the team, the assistant and the people who will work with me," he said.
"I would like to thank the Milan team, the company, the fans, the players. But now I think it is the right moment to challenge and I want to put all my energies into Chelsea."
When he arrives at Chelsea's Cobham training ground in July, he will find a squad packed full of talent but also some strong personalities who he will have to impress to enjoy the support given to Mourinho and Hiddink.
Scolari's regime alienated the likes of Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech, who were said to have complained to Abramovich about the Brazilian, hastening his exit.
Winning over the players will be the first and perhaps the decisive test of Ancelotti's English adventure.