Champions League

Ranieri sets sights on Champions League

2016-05-10 14:40
claudio ranieri (Getty Images)

Milan - Claudio Ranieri admits he would love to coach Italy one day but has committed his immediate future to a Leicester City side that, he believes, could spring a few surprises in next season's Champions League.

"I would never rule it out. I would love it. And Leicester's blue shirts are already quite similar to those of Italy," Ranieri said in a Gazzetta dello Sport interview on Tuesday.

As Leicester's fans continue to soak up the club's incredibly title-winning feat, Ranieri's resounding achievement has made the 64-year-old the toast of his native Italy.

On Monday, he was awarded the 'Bearzot Prize' for sporting excellency at the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in Rome, following in the footsteps of 2006 World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi.

It came amid the presence of Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio, who said he wants to see Ranieri steering Italy to a fifth World Cup crown.

After the bittersweet experience as coach of Greece, who sacked him after defeat to the Faroe Islands ended their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2016, Ranieri admitted: "I was curious to know what it would be like to coach a national team, but my experience with Greece was enough. Obviously, being coach of Italy would be different."

But for the moment, Ranieri is staying put as he believes Leicester's "fairytale of beating the Premier League giants" could be extended to next season's Champions League.

"I know a lot of (European) clubs will be thinking, 'it's okay, it's only Leicester we've got'. But we'll be playing the Champions League with exactly the same attitude."

Ranieri admitted that while it had been a culture shock in the English midlands he has already curbed the Leicester players' appetite for beer, but struggles to limit their intake of spicy food.

"The beer isn't a problem," said the Italian when asked if he had had to change his players' eating habits. "They always asked my permission. It was more the food. They love all that spicy stuff."

And while rejecting the need for players worth "30-40 million" who could "ruin the dressing room", the Italian has urged his in-demand stars to remain at the club.

"I know a lot of my players can now go where they want, but I told them that after another year they will have even more experience and they will be worth even more," said Ranieri.

He added: "I don't want players worth 30-40 million who ruin the atmosphere in the dressing room. I want players with the same kind of attitude as my guys.

"I always tell them, 'I don't expect you to win all the time, but I expect you to always give everything'. That's what they did, and that's what they will do in the Champions League."

Leicester's triumph has drawn comparisons with some of the biggest success stories in world sport, with reports a Hollywood film is already in production.

Italian-American star Robert De Niro has been touted to play Ranieri, who said: "It doesn't matter who plays me. As long as the film is a success, just like we are."

Leicester feted their historic championship triumph in style last weekend when world famous Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli adding special emotion by singing 'Nessun Dorma' at the King Power stadium.

Ranieri admitted Bocelli, who was blinded permanently aged 12 due to a football accident, told him prior to the game: "I'm feeling very emotional."

Ranieri added: "His wife told me, 'It's the only time I've seen him (Bocelli) happy to take the plane'."

Yet despite his success, Ranieri says Leicester's feats fade in comparison with those of Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest.

After steering Forest into England's top flight in 1977, Clough led his side to the title a year later (1978), and two successive European Cups in 1979 and 1980.

Ranieri said: "Nottingham Forest was a bigger success story than ours, because they came from the second division, won the league title then two European titles in succession.

"I hope we get to their level in a few years."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.