LONDON • Claudio Ranieri's remarkable work for Leicester City this season has inevitably made him a strong candidate for the Premier League Manager of the Year award.
The Italian is held in such high esteem that he was asked by reporters on Friday - in total seriousness - whether Robert De Niro would be the best casting to play him in a film, and whether he would like a statue of himself outside the King Power Stadium.
"In Italy, you only get a monument when you are dead," he said. "So not yet."
The 64-year-old also believes that it is impossible to choose between his "three sons" on the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award, insisting that if one of the club's candidates claims the prize, he would prefer to see it as an honour for the whole team.
Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante are in contention to win the award alongside Mesut Oezil, the Arsenal midfielder, Dimitri Payet, the West Ham United forward and Harry Kane, the Tottenham and England striker.
Ranieri would not be drawn on which of the three he feels is most deserving, claiming only that he wished more Leicester players were on the shortlist and suggesting that such individual accolades actually belong more to the collective.
"I am very proud," he said.
"They deserve it, they are doing fantastic every match. I hope one of them wins. They are all three my sons, and if one son wins, I am very happy. But all of my players are my sons, so I would like all of them to be there.
"I don't know (which one I would pick). Everyone watches them on the highlights, but their strength is the strength of the team. Individual awards are something which the whole team deserves, not only one, two or three players. This is a team job."
"It is a miracle that we are safe," he added.
"Remember, when I arrived, Ranieri was first to be sacked and Leicester first to be relegated. I remember it well. But now I am on the front pages of the news. It is good, but I have also been on the front pages of Greek newspapers. I am the same manager as then. Life is not always sunshine."
Leicester host West Ham United today, hoping to extend their lead at the top of the table to 10 points again before second-placed Tottenham travel to Stoke on Monday.
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LEICESTER V WEST HAM
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