Antonio Conte says his plans for Inter Milan’s future did not change before he left the club at the end of the season and insisted his choices will never be dictated by money.
The 51-year-old terminated his contract within days of leading Inter to their first Serie A title in 11 years last month.
Italian media said the parting was down to Conte’s unhappiness with plans to cut costs due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while Inter president Steven Zhang later explained that they had “different ideas”.
“I can only say that my project never changed, but it would make no sense to talk about these things now,” Conte said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday.
“I don’t want to create controversy or talk about transfers. I respect president Zhang, and I thank him for choosing me.
“I love Inter, the team and the fans, and I sincerely wish Simone Inzaghi the best of luck in the job. He is a good, capable, ambitious coach and I wish the Nerazzurri world the greatest success.”
The former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea manager’s honours include four Serie A titles and the one Premier League.
He was by far the highest-paid coach in the Italian league last season with a reported 12 million euro ($14.6 million) per year net salary but said money was never a priority.
“The market sets the price. It is based on the results achieved and work done over the years,” he said.
“If my problem or my obsession was money, I would have stayed where I was in the past. I would have accepted compromises and perhaps earned contract renewals.
“Instead I look at the projects and I am willing to stay at home if they do not convince me. It is a question of vision, professionalism, intellectual honesty and principles that cannot be ignored.”
Euro 2020 kicks off in Rome on Friday when Roberto Mancini’s Italy face Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico. It has been five years since the Azzurri’s last major tournament appearance, when Conte led them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
“Roberto is doing a great job, not just in terms of results but in managing to create a group with conviction, enthusiasm and cohesion,” Conte said.
“Let’s hope we can go as far as possible, once we are past the group stage you need to have some luck with the draw.”