LONDON (REUTERS) - Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until 2020, the English Premier League football champions said on Wednesday.
Appointed in July 2015, the 64-year-old Italian helped the club defy pre-season odds of 5,000-1 to win the league, the first top-flight title in Leicester's 132-year history.
"Claudio's qualities, both as a man and as a coach, have been very clear since the moment he arrived - qualities that have helped Leicester City to progress on every level," club vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said in a statement.
Key players including goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, defender Wes Morgan and prolific striker Jamie Vardy have also extended their contracts with the club, who begin their title defence with a trip to promoted Hull City on Saturday.
"From the moment I talked to the owners about their vision for Leicester City, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of for a long time," Ranieri said.
"The energy that exists at this club - from the owners and the staff, to the players and supporters - is something very special. I am very happy and proud that I will be part of it for years to come."
Ranieri said that last season the spirit and hard work of the players helped Leicester achieve something magical. "If we can continue to work hard, maintain our passion and continue to fight with all our hearts, I am sure we can continue to be successful together," he added.
Ranieri joined Leicester following the dismissal of Nigel Pearson, but his appointment was met with a mixed reaction among media and supporters, with many tipping the side to go down.
He previously guided Chelsea to a Champions League semi- final in 2004 but a series of bizarre tactical tweaks and substitutions led to defeat by Monaco.
The Rome-born coach had also managed Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Juventus, Inter Milan and Roma, but domestic cups in Italy and Spain were the only significant honours to show for his time with some of Europe's biggest clubs before last year's unlikely triumph.
Ranieri, nicknamed "the Tinkerman", was appointed head coach of the Greek national side in July 2014 but was sacked four months later following a Euro 2016 qualifying defeat by the Faroe Islands.