By 90Min
July 19, 2017

​Former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has written an emotional reflection for ​The Player's Tribune on his time at Leicester and the new challenge he faces at Ligue 1 club FC Nantes.

The Foxes were crowned Premier League champions at the end of the 2015-16 season after a fairy-tale run saw them finish 10 points clear of runners-up Arsenal.

But after a poor start to Leicester's 2016-17 campaign with Leicester just one point clear of the relegation zone by February, Ranieri was controversially sacked.

The football community was up in arms at such a perceived lack of loyalty towards the Italian from Leicester's owners. But reflecting on his dismissal, Ranieri writes with characteristic class:

'In February, not long after I was let go, there was a ring at our door. My wife and I lived close to town. Last year, after we won the title, I remember a giant crowd gathered outside to celebrate. Supporters were all over our lawn, cheering and chanting.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Claudio Ranieri, Manager of Leicester City is dejected during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Millwall and Leicester City at The Den on February 18, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/GettyImages

"But when I opened the door this time, I saw something different. Something I never expected. A crowd even bigger than when we had won the title! 

"They had brought chocolate, champagne, cards — everything! They cried, they gave me their support … it was a very emotional moment...I’ll never forget the number of people who came to say goodbye."

However, despite his fondness for the Midlands club, the 65-year-old seems in no mood to trade on former glories and voiced his commitment to improving upon FC Nantes 7th placed finish in Ligue 1 last season:

France's Ligue 1 football club FC Nantes' Italian coach Claudio Ranieri (3-L) speaks to players during a training session at the FC Nantes headquarters on June 26, 2017 in La Chapelle sur Erdre, western France. / AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)

"What drew me to Nantes was very similar to what had drawn me to Leicester: the chance to make something beautiful. When I got a phone call from my agent, George, that there was interest from the club, I knew the opportunity would be intriguing.

"When I met with the owners we just … talked. About what happened last season, about what I thought I could do at Nantes. It was very honest.

"I will not promise a miracle. I will not promise a dream.

"I simply promise to work hard. After 44 years in football, that is the only secret I know. It is the only thing we can be sure of."


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