Cesare Prandelli: I rejected Leicester over treatment of Claudio Ranieri

Niall McVeigh
The Guardian
Cesare Prandelli: I said no to Leicester over treatment of Claudio Ranieri
Cesare Prandelli: I said no to Leicester over treatment of Claudio Ranieri

Former Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli has claimed that he turned down an approach from Leicester City to discuss taking over as manager “after seeing how [Claudio] Ranieri was treated.”

Asked if Leicester had approached him in an interview on French television channel SFR Sport, Prandelli replied “I immediately said no”.

“You don’t accept a job like that,” Prandelli added. “You don’t go there [Leicester] after seeing how Ranieri was treated. I am not going there. Full stop.”

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Ranieri was sacked by Leicester in February, just nine months after leading the team to arguably the most remarkable league title in football history. Leicester defied 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League by 10 points last season, but Ranieri departed with the team 17th in the league table.

Prandelli said that his countryman was sacked by Leicester despite having “achieved something extraordinary.”

“[Ranieri is] a coach who won a memorable, historic title and is then dumped after a few months,” Prandelli added.

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Prandelli began his managerial career at Atalanta, and managed Fiorentina for five years before being offered the national team job. He led Italy to the final of Euro 2012, there they lost to Spain, but resigned after the team’s exit from the group stages of the 2014 World Cup.

The 59-year-old has controversially departed from a club himself this season. After taking over at crisis-hit La Liga side Valencia in September, he resigned after just ten games in charge. His departure was not entirely amicable, with Prandelli pointing to failure in the transfer market, and claiming the club was not run by “football people”.

Prandelli is not the only manager to have expressed disappointment over Ranieri’s dismissal, although he is the first to claim he refused to speak to the club for that reason. Manchester United manager José Mourinho offered Ranieri his public support, while Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp said “I have no idea why Leicester did this.”

Ranieri’s assistant, Craig Shakespeare, took over as Leicester manager on a temporary basis, and secured the job until the end of the season after the team defeated Liverpool and Hull City. Shakespeare has since led Leicester into the Champions League quarter-finals, where they will face Atlético Madrid, and eased relegation fears with a 3-2 victory at West Ham on Saturday.

The defending champions are understood to have sounded out former England manager Roy Hodgson and former Chelsea and Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink following Ranieri’s sacking. Leicester’s immediate improvement under Shakespeare convinced the club’s owners to trust the caretaker manager with securing the club’s Premier League survival.

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