Football: Dilly-ding, dilly-dong - Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri in his own words

Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri standing on the touchline during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Millwall and Leicester City, on Feb 18, 2017.
Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri standing on the touchline during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Millwall and Leicester City, on Feb 18, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Claudio Ranieri was shockingly sacked as Leicester manager on Thursday, less than a year after guiding the 5,000-1 outsiders to a remarkable Premier League title.

Here AFP Sport looks at five of the best quotes from the colourful Italian's memorable reign:

"From the beginning when something was wrong I've been saying, 'Dilly-ding, dilly-dong, wake up, wake up!' So on Christmas Day I bought for all the players and all the staff a little bell." - Ranieri raised eyebrows when he described the eccentric way he keeps his players alert during training sessions.

"I told them, if you keep a clean sheet, I'll buy pizza for everybody. I think they're waiting for me to offer a hot dog too." - Ranieri revealed his unusual method of motivating his error-prone defenders to keep a clean sheet in the early stages of their title-winning campaign.

"It's fantastic when you see before the match, an old lady with a Leicester shirt outside the stadium. I say, 'Unbelievable. They come from Leicester to support us.' This is my emotion." - Ranieri showed his emotional side when he shed a tear following a victory at Sunderland last April that put Leicester within touching distance of the title.

 
 
 

"I'm so proud. I'm happy for my players, for the chairman, for the staff at Leicester, all our fans and the Leicester community. It's an amazing feeling. I never expected this when I arrived." - Just hours after flying back to England following a lunch in Italy with his 96-year-old mother, Ranieri was joyous as Tottenham's draw with Chelsea sealed Leicester's fairy-tale title.

"I could be (too loyal), could be. It is difficult when you achieve something so good, you want to give them one chance, two chances, three chances. Maybe now, it is too much." - Earlier this month, Ranieri questioned himself for keeping faith with his players for too long as he struggled to arrest the slide that would trigger his sacking.