LEICESTER City have appointed the vastly-experienced Claudio Ranieri as their new manager, but former club icon Gary Lineker has called the Italian’s hiring “uninspiring”.
The Barclays Premier League club confirmed Ranieri, 63, has signed a three-year deal to replace Nigel Pearson, who was relieved of his duties last month because the club insisted “fundamental differences in perspective exist between us”.
Ranieri’s 29-year managerial career has spanned 14 clubs across five countries, including European giants such as Chelsea, Juventus and Atletico Madrid, but former Leicester and England striker Lineker is less than impressed.
“Claudio Ranieri is clearly experienced, but this is an uninspired choice by Leicester,” he said on BreatheSport. “It’s amazing how the same old names keep getting a go on the managerial merry-go-round.”
Ranieri has been out of work since a winless four-game stint with Greece in 2014 was ended after the country were beaten 1-0 by minnows the Faroe Islands.
It is more than ten years since he last managed in the UK with Chelsea, who he took to the Champions League semi-finals and to second place in the 2004 Premier League table behind Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ before being replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Ranieri has managed in Spain, Italy and France since but revealed he has always harboured hopes of returning to England.
He said: “I’m so glad to be here in a club with such a great tradition as Leicester City.
“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.”
Leicester were keen on recruiting a high-profile boss to succeed Pearson and both Guus Hiddink and former Foxes manager Martin O’Neill, now in charge of the Republic of Ireland, had been heavily linked with the vacancy. But the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha called Ranieri “one of the world’s elite managers” and insists it was his vast experience that set him apart.