Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has sympathised with Chelsea and admitted he still 'loves' his former club after owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.
Having put the club up for sale, the Russian-Israeli oligarch has had his assets frozen due to his links with Moscow and the Kremlin following president Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
As a result, Chelsea are essentially under a transfer embargo, cannot sell tickets and cannot renew any contracts, with Abramovich blocked from making any money in the UK. A sale of the club is still possible, although the current owner could not profit.
The news - although anticipated - has sent shockwaves around the Premier League, with the future of the club now clouded by uncertainty.
Conte - who won the Premier League title as Chelsea manager in 2017 - was asked about the unfolding situation in his pre-match press conference ahead Spurs' clash with Manchester United in the Premier League, and strangely revealed he still 'loves' the Blues.
"Honestly I have just listened to this situation," he said. "This morning we had a training session. Is not easy, is not easy.
"Honestly, it’s a pity, also because I was coach in this club, in Chelsea, I enjoyed two seasons. Also, I won two titles, I worked in this club. It’s a pity to listen to this situation, it’s not simple for the players, it’s not simple for Thomas Tuchel, for the fans, for the whole environment, Chelsea environment.
"Honestly, I hope that in general, that this situation between Russia and Ukraine is going to finish, and to find a peace, because it’s too much important."
He continued: "And then, other situations that are coming, from this conflict. I think that it’s not right. I for hope the best, for this club, because I worked in this club, I enjoyed the two seasons.
"For sure, I love the team, the club, that I worked in, in the past. Every team that worked in the past. I hope for the best for them."