Saturday 20 January 2018

Claudio Ranieri speaks about Leicester City sacking: 'I was shocked, but I'm not bitter'

Claudio Ranieri was shown the door by Leicester in February
Claudio Ranieri was shown the door by Leicester in February Newsdesk Newsdesk

Claudio Ranieri has admitted news of his dismissal as Leicester manager came as a huge shock.

The 65-year-old Italian was removed from his post in February, nine months after leading City to an unprecedented Premier League title.

Ranieri has kept a low profile since, but appeared on stage this week at Rebibbia prison in his homeland in a ceremony to honour regional football coaches in Italy.

And speaking in front of inmates, he revealed his astonishment at being told of his sacking, which came the day after Leicester's first-leg defeat to Sevilla in the Champions League last 16 - a tie they eventually went on to win.

"Thinking of Leicester, the first thing that comes to mind is the sense of surprise, even more than bitterness," said Ranieri, in quotes reported by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I have been through a lot in my long career, but never anything like this.

"It was a shock, but in the end these things are part of football."

Ranieri also confirmed he would be speak in more detail about his departure from Leicester when he appears as a pundit on Sky Sports during the Premier League clash between Crystal Palace and Arsenal on April 10. 

"Until that day I will not talk," he said. "Because everything took place in England and it seems fitting to talk in England."

Leicester's form has picked up since the controversial dismissal of Ranieri, with Craig Shakespeare presiding over three wins in three games in the Premier League, as well as the second-leg victory over Sevilla.

The club sit 15th in the table but now find themselves six points clear of the drop zone with a game in hand over Hull, current occupiers of the final relegation place.

Atletico Madrid will be City's opponents in the Premier League, another club fomerly managed by Ranieri, who were his previous employers when he took up his first job on British soil at Chelsea in 2000.

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