The 63-year-old was in charge at Stamford Bridge for four years between 2000 and 2004, before seeing his reign abruptly ended by Roman Abramovich. The oil-rich owner replaced him with Jose Mourinho, and went on to have great success with the Portuguese coach at the helm.
Since then, the Italian has managed seven different sides, most recently the Greek national team. He has also been in charge at AS Monaco, Inter Milan, Roma, Juventus, Parma, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Fiorentina, Napoli, and Cagliari in a trophy-laden career. It can be seen as a major coup for the Foxes that he has come to the King Power stadium.
“I’m so glad to be here in a Club with such a great tradition as Leicester City,” he said on being appointed.
“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.”
Ranieri beat a slew of high-profile names to the job, with Guus Hiddink and Martin O’Neill among those linked before his appointment [Daily Telegraph]. That such luminaries of the footballing world were rumoured to be close to the vacant post represents a compliment for Foxes, whose standing within English football has improved over the last season.
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Ex-manager Nigel Pearson guided Leicester to safety last season by winning seven of their final nine games at the end of the campaign. The 51-year-old was only sacked after controversy surrounding his son’s ‘racist sex orgy’ in the owner’s home country of Thailand [Daily Mirror].
Chelsea are unlikely to be too worried about the return of their former manager. They finished 46 points ahead of their rivals last season, and there is expected to be at least that gap between the sides again next time round. The return of the man who guided them to second in the league could be welcomed by the Pensioners fans when they are reunited during the coming campaign.