Claudio Ranieri

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Claudio Ranieri announced as new coach of Nantes

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Claudio Ranieri has landed.

The Italian manager who famously led Leicester City to the Premier League crown and was fired within a year has been hired by Ligue 1 side Nantes on a two-year deal.

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There was some speculation that Ranieri would return to the PL, but instead takes the reins of his second Ligue 1 club. Ranieri led Monaco to promotion from Ligue 2 and then a runner-up finish in Ligue 1.

He’s also managed Greece, Chelsea and a host of the biggest clubs in Italy including Inter Milan, Roma, Juventus, Napoli, and Fiorentina. Ranieri has also coached Valencia twice.

Ranieri needed a special dispensation from France to take the job, as he’s over the maximum coach’s age of 65.

Nantes granted special permission to hire 65-year-old Ranieri

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NANTES, France (AP) Claudio Ranieri will try to revive his career in France after the French soccer league gave permission to Nantes to hire the former Leicester manager on Tuesday.

According to several media reports in France, the Italian coach will sign a two-year deal and will be assisted by four deputy coaches.

Nantes had asked for a special dispensation because Ranieri has reached the coach’s age limit of 65.

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Ranieri, who guided Leicester to the English Premier League title in 2016 but was fired nine months later, will replace Sergio Conceicao. The Portuguese coach left Nantes earlier this month to take charge of FC Porto.

Ranieri has also coached Juventus, Roma and Inter Milan in his much-traveled career and was in charge of several other Italian sides as well as Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.

Under Ranieri’s guidance, Leicester won the Premier League at preseason odds of 5,000-1, a year after narrowly escaping relegation. He was fired in February with the team one point and one place above the relegation zone in a woeful title defense.

Ranieri has already coached in the French league, from 2012-14, when he won the League 2 title with Monaco then led the Principality side to a runner-up finish in the topflight.

[ MORE: England, France walk out to “Don’t Look Back in Anger” ]

Eight-time French champion Nantes was expected to continue with Conceicao this season after extending his contract until 2020. But Nantes said last week it had failed to persuade him to stay.

The former Portugal winger worked wonders in his short spell with Nantes. When Conceicao took charge in December the club was languishing in 19th place, but it went on to finish seventh – just outside of a spot in the Europa League.

Nantes won the last of its eight titles in 2001.

Ranieri offered Nantes spot, but wants a Premier League job

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According to the Telegraph, Claudio Ranieri has been offered the open managerial position at French club FC Nantes, but the Italian would favor to return to the Premier League, and is sitting on the Ligue 1 offer in the hopes that an English job will crop up.

Ranieri has been without a job after being fired by Leicester City in February, and wishes to return to the league where he won the title a year ago.

Nantes was left without a boss after Sergio Conceicao left last week to take the FC Porto job in his home country. Conceicao had joined Nantes in December and took the club from bottom of the table to a seventh-placed finish, just missing out on a Europa League berth.

There is only one Premier League position currently open, and that is at Crystal Palace where Sam Allardyce quit recently for undisclosed reasons. In the Championship, both Sunderland and Leeds United are without a manager, but it’s unclear if Ranieri would drop down a league with the Nantes offer already in hand.

Ranieri obviously has the Premier League title to his name, but it seems that clubs are wary of the circumstances surrounding his Leicester City exit. There were extensive rumors of player unrest, and for a squad to lose faith in the manager who brought them a historic championship is clearly giving clubs pause when it comes to hiring the Italian.

Ranieri speaks out on Leicester firing, backs his former players

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Claudio Ranieri left Leicester City with class, though he admits there was a problem at the club — and it wasn’t his players.

The Italian manager was fired in late February with Leicester embroiled in a relegation battle, less than one year after leading the Foxes to one of the most improbable title runs in soccer history.

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Reports emerged that some players wanted him out, and Leicester has responded with much improved form. But Ranieri says the impetus for his firing, beyond results, came from somewhere else, according to Sky Sports.

“I cannot believe that my players killed me. No, no, no.”

“Maybe it could be somebody behind me, but also the little problem I had the year before and we won the title. Maybe these people, this year, when we lose they push a little more. That’s it. I don’t want to tell. I am a serious man, a loyal man. What I have to say, I say face-to-face.”

The fallout from the Ranieri firing was wild, with Cesare Prandelli claiming he rejected replacing his fellow Italian based on Leicester’s actions and Jamie Vardy admitting his family received death threats over reports he was involved with the rancor.

Vardy claims “death threats” made to him, family over Ranieri firing

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Jamie Vardy claims “death threats” were made to himself and his family in the days and weeks since Claudio Ranieri was fired as Leicester City manager last month.

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Vardy was, at the time, alleged to have been a central figure in a players’ revolt against the Italian manager who last season guided Leicester to the Premier League title despite 5,000-to-1 odds prior to the start of the season. Vardy says the stories were false, even providing an alibi of sorts, while also revealing the threats made against his family — quotes from the BBC:

“It is terrifying. I read one story that said I was personally involved in a meeting after the Sevilla game when I was actually sat in anti-doping for three hours.

“But then the story is out there, people pick it up and jump on it and you’re getting death threats about your family, kids, everything.”

“When people are trying to cut your missus up while she’s driving, with the kids in the back of the car, it’s not the best.”

[ MORE: Prandelli said no to Leicester “after seeing how Ranieri was treated” ]

Whether or not Vardy was the only player lobbying for Ranieri’s dismissal, or not at all involved, threats of violence have no place in society, let alone sports. Vardy went on to say that relations between Ranieri and his players were very healthy, right up until his departure.

“If there was an issue, you went and did it in the gaffer’s office or you went and did it on the tactics board, because he was happy for you to come in and put your opinion across.

“The stories were quite hurtful to be honest with you. A lot of false accusations were being thrown out there and there was nothing we, as players, could do about it.”