Roberto di Matteo Close To Becoming Chelsea Manager?

Chairman Roman Abramovich won't make a decision until the end of the season but the victory over Barcelona has made him the leading candidate for the permanent position.

Roberto di Matteo is close to being named the permanent Chelsea manager after guiding the Blues to an unlikely Champions League final showdown against Bayern Munich, according to BBC Sport. Chairman Roman Abramovich won't make a decision until the end of the season but he has been nothing but impressed by di Matteo's approach in rejuvenating a defeated side under Andre Villas-Boas and guiding them to just one defeat in 15 matches. The Russian owner is increasingly of the belief that the Italian could succeed and bring back trophies to Stamford Bridge. He may not have to win the Champions League to secure the position either. Just getting the club to the final after beating European Champions Barcelona in a two-legged semi-final and guiding the club to an FA Cup final against Liverpool next month may be deemed enough to win the post, though it might depend on how Chelsea finish the domestic league season, with important games against Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle United to come within the week. Securing Champions League football for next season is the minimum requirement, whether that comes from finishing in the top four or winning the Champions League. Di Matteo has already interviewed for the job with the club's technical director Michael Emenalo, who is overseeing the recruitment process. The 41-year old former Chelsea midfielder has also been asked to plan the pre-season tour of the United States and make squad preparations for next season. He will also win a cool £750,000 bonus if he guides Chelsea to their first ever Champions League trophy. BBC Sport reveal that Chelsea have made contact with Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola (whose contract in Spain expires at the end of the season and is interested in coming to England but has reservations about joining Chelsea as he would prefer a club who will allow him a long term vision), Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho (who believes he has "unfinished business" at the Bridge) and French national manager Laurent Blanc (who is currently prepping for the Euro 2012 tournament and couldn't join until July) and they will be interviewed if they have interest. But the senior players are starting to rally around Di Matteo. Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard told press after the midweek European success at the Nou Camp;
"I can't speak highly enough of him. Look at the record - it's not coincidence," "He's created an atmosphere, a spirit and determination. What he's done in bringing it together and getting a result like this , and the results we've had before, is amazing."

Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.