Claudio Ranieri named new Leicester City boss

Claudio Ranieri.

Claudio Ranieri.

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Sunderland’s opening game in the Premier League against Leicester City will see them come up against Claudio Ranieri, who was named as their new first-team manager.

Ranieri, a former Chelsea boss, succeeds Nigel Pearson at the Barclays Premier League club.

Pearson was relieved of his duties last month, with the club making a statement at the time which said “fundamental differences in perspective exist between us.”

Ranieri has been out of work since leaving the Greek national side last year and has not been involved in the Premier League since his time at Stamford Bridge more than 10 years ago.

The 63-year-old has agreed a three-year contract at the King Power Stadium and is relishing the opportunity of returning to the English top flight.

He told the club’s official website: “I’m so glad to be here in a club with such a great tradition as Leicester City.

“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 to getting the best results for the team.’’

Leicester have scoured Europe for a high-profile replacement for Pearson, considering former Foxes boss Martin O’Neill and Guus Hiddink.

There were reports over the weekend that O’Neill could be set for an emotional return to his old club but it is believed there were issues regarding his exit from the Republic of Ireland post.

Ranieri is vastly experienced and counts Inter Milan, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Roma among his former clubs.

It is this which appealed to Leicester vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who said: “It is my great pleasure to welcome Claudio Ranieri - a man of remarkable experience and knowledge that will lead us into the next phase of our long-term plan for Leicester City.

“His achievements in the game, his knowledge of English football and his record of successfully coaching some of the world’s finest players made him the outstanding candidate for the job and his ambitions for the future reflect our own.

“To have attracted one of the world’s elite managers speaks volumes both for the progress Leicester City has made in recent years and for the potential that remains for the Club’s long-term development.”

Ranieri met the Leicester squad on Monday afternoon and he will oversee his first training session on Tuesday morning - assisted by Craig Shakespeare, Steve Walsh and the existing City backroom team.

He will remain with the group for the remainder of their training camp in Bad Radkersburg, Austria.

The Italian will have the opportunity to see the squad in action for the first time on July 21 when Leicester begin their pre-season friendly schedule with a trip to Lincoln.

The Foxes also have friendly fixtures lined up at Mansfield, Burton, Rotherham and Birmingham, before beginning their Premier League campaign against Sunderland at the King Power Stadium on August 8.

Former Leicester striker Gary Lineker reacted with surprise to the appointment.

“Claudio Ranieri? Really?” he wrote on Twitter.