After 11 years of absence former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri has return to the Premier League as Leicester City took the surprise decision to appoint the former Chelsea manager on a three-year contract.
The Italian, who has been out of the game since being dismissed by Greece last November, replaces Nigel Pearson whose hugely successful if tumultuous second spell at the club ended in the sack last month with the board citing “fundamental differences in perspective”.
Leicester’s vice-chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, introduced Ranieri as the manager along with the director of football, Jon Rudkin, on Monday at their pre-season training camp in Austria and will oversee his first session on Tuesday.
Martin O’Neill was considered for the role earlier and along with Neil Lennon, Peter Schmeichel and Guus Hiddink, who left his job with Holland last month before the Italian was appointed for the job.
“It is my great pleasure to welcome Claudio Ranieri, a man of remarkable experience and knowledge that will lead us into the next phase of our long-term plan for Leicester City,” said Srivaddhanaprabha. “His achievements in the game, his knowledge of English football and his record of successfully coaching some of the world’s finest players made him the outstanding candidate for the job and his ambitions for the future reflect our own.
“To have attracted one of the world’s elite managers speaks volumes both for the progress Leicester City has made in recent years and for the potential that remains for the club’s long-term development.”
This will be Ranieri’s 16th job as a manager after spells at Fiorentina, Valencia, Atlético Madrid, Juventus, Roma and Internazionale along with Chelsea. His four years at Chelsea coincided with the sale of the club to Roman Abramovich in 2003 and, although he led the team to the Champions League semi-finals, he spent the last few months in the role effectively as a dead man walking with José Mourinho having been earmarked for the position.
“I’m so glad to be here in a club with such a great tradition as Leicester City,” said Ranieri. “I have worked at many great clubs, in many top leagues, but since I left Chelsea I have dreamt of another chance to work in the best league in the world again. I wish to thank the owner, his son and all the executives of the club for the opportunity they are giving me. Now I’ve only one way for returning their trust: squeeze all my energies to getting the best results for the team.”