LONDON • Leicester City sprang a major surprise by hiring former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri as their new manager on Monday.
The Italian makes his shock return to English football's top flight after emerging as the preferred choice of the club's Thai owners to replace the sacked Nigel Pearson.
The 63-year-old agreed a three-year contract at King Power Stadium and has been charged with building on the foundations left by Pearson.
The latter saved Leicester from relegation last season amid a series of bizarre incidents involving the controversial manager.
"I'm so glad to be here in a club with such a great tradition as Leicester City," Ranieri said. "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 into getting the best results for the team."
Ranieri has not worked in English football since 2004, when he was sacked by Chelsea, and was also dismissed from his last job as Greece manager last year.
The Italian was famously nicknamed "The Tinkerman" for his habit of making tactical changes at Chelsea. Now, he will be under pressure to ensure Leicester stay away from negative headlines after Pearson's colourful reign.
Ranieri will inherit a squad who were fiercely loyal to Pearson.
Winning them over will surely represent his first challenge.
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE