Friday 28 October 2016

Claudio Ranieri's mother reveals the secret diet behind Leicester's title success

Published 04/05/2016 | 14:24

Going easy on the pasta was one of the secrets of Claudio Ranieri’s success as Leicester City’s manager, his 96-year-old mother has revealed.

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Like any good Italian “mamma”, Renata Ranieri said she was careful to take care of her son’s dietary needs in the weeks leading up to his historic achievement in winning the Premier League title for the East Midlands club.

“My son needs to stay fit, so he almost never opts for a ‘primo’ (the plate of pasta that traditionally kicks off an Italian meal),” the pensioner told La Repubblica newspaper. “Instead he has green beans or a salad.”

On Monday, when Mr Ranieri flew back to Rome for lunch with his mother, he ate “a steak and a bit of cicoria ripassata” – a popular spinach-like vegetable tossed in olive oil and peperoncino.

That was followed by a bowl of strawberries with lemon juice and a dusting of sugar.

Mrs Ranieri, who lives in Rome, said she was moved to tears when her son phoned her on Monday night to say that Leicester had secured the title after Spurs failed to beat Chelsea in an ill-tempered 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Claudio Ranieri is mobbed by fans as he leaves an Italian restaurant after having lunch with team-mates in the centre of Leicester. Photo: Getty
Claudio Ranieri is mobbed by fans as he leaves an Italian restaurant after having lunch with team-mates in the centre of Leicester. Photo: Getty

She said she was immensely proud. “All the newspapers [in Italy] are calling him the King of England, just imagine that. Claudio was so happy when I spoke to him on the phone. Now we can all relax a bit.”

In truth, she had never expected her son to take Leicester so far. “He told me he had found a good bunch of players…but that he certainly wasn’t training a great team.”

Her son had been undervalued in Italy, she said, but appreciated much more in England.

Mr Ranieri had a brief spell as manager of AS Roma after managing Valencia in Spain.

“I know that he settled in well [at Leicester], and that they have always treated him well. In Rome, he was not treated with respect. I was sorry about how it ended. I think he could have won the championship in Italy too. He came very close.”

Mr Ranieri was born in the San Saba neighbourhood of Rome, close to the Circus Maximus, the ancient Roman chariot racing stadium. He has been a lifelong supporter of AS Roma.

Mrs Ranieri hopes to be able to see her son soon. “We are so happy. The whole world is paying him compliments, and I thank everyone,” she said.

The manager’s son-in-law said the coach was ecstatic on learning that Leicester had won the title.

“Claudio was so happy, not so much for himself, but for the players and the fans,” said Alessandro Roja, an actor who is married to Mr Ranieri’s daughter, Claudia.

“He’s a calm and serious person but he also knows how to joke around. He is able to gain people’s confidence,” he told Corriere dello Sport.

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