Football: Ranieri 'back home' as Roma head coach coach

Ranieri (above) is returning to his hometown club which he coached from September 2009 to February 2011.
Ranieri (above) is returning to his hometown club which he coached from September 2009 to February 2011.PHOTO: AFP

MILAN (AFP) - Former Roma boss Claudio Ranieri was reappointed head coach of the Serie A club until the end of the season on Friday (March 8), after Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked in the wake of their Champions League exit.

Ranieri, who memorably guided outsiders Leicester City to the 2016 English Premier League title, returns to his hometown club which he coached from September 2009 to February 2011.

The 67-year-old former defender also began his senior playing career with Roma in 1973.

"I'm delighted to be coming back home," Ranieri said.

"When Roma call you, it's impossible to say no."

Former Chelsea boss Ranieri's brief spell as manager of Premier League strugglers Fulham ended last month after only four months in charge.

"We are delighted to welcome Claudio Ranieri back to the club," said AS Roma President Jim Pallotta.

"We have one objective remaining this season and that is to finish in the highest possible league position and secure qualification for the Champions League.

"At this stage of the campaign, it was important to bring in a coach who knows the club, understands the environment, can speak the language and is able to motivate the players.

"Claudio ticks all of those boxes and he's very excited to take on this challenge."

Roma are fifth in Serie A, three points off the Champions League berths for next season.

'SAFE HANDS'

Ranieri's first match in charge will be an Italian league game at home against Empoli on Monday.

"Claudio's from the city, he's a Roma fan but more than that, he's one of the most experienced coaches in world football," said club legend Francesco Totti, now on the board of directors.

 

"What we need now is a safe pair of hands to guide us back into the top four and ensure that we are playing Champions League football again next season. We have 12 games left and we need to win as many of them as possible."

Ranieri took over from Luciano Spalletti early in the 2009/10 season with Roma struggling and led them to runners-up finishes in Serie A and the Italian Cup.

He resigned in February of the following season after poor results, with seven coaches having sat on the Roma bench since his departure in 2011.

Former Roma player Di Francesco, 49, paid the price after a chaotic season with last year's Champions League semi-finalists exiting this year's tournament with a last 16, second-leg defeat at Portuguese club Porto.

The club also crashed out of the Italian Cup with a humiliating 7-1 defeat to Fiorentina last month and fell 3-0 to city rivals Lazio last weekend in the Stadio Olimpico.

Di Francesco led Roma to a third-place finish last season but their last Serie A title was in 2001 and most recent trophy the 2008 Italian Cup.

Roma and their sporting director Monchi also parted ways by mutual consent earlier on Friday.

Ranieri's coaching career has included top Italian clubs Juventus, Inter Milan and Napoli.

He also coached Spanish clubs Atletico Madrid and Valencia, French outfits Monaco and Nantes and the Greek national team.

His only top-flight league trophy came with Leicester but he was sacked months after their fairytale title success.

He then coached Nantes for a season before taking over at Fulham in November 2018, only to be sacked on Feb 28.

Ranieri also led Fiorentina to the Italian Cup and Italian SuperCup trophies in 1996, after guiding them to the Serie B title in 1994.

He also coached Valencia to the Copa del Rey in 1999 and Uefa Super Cup in 2005.