Claudio Ranieri: I turned down offers to stay at Leicester

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has revealed he had offers to leave the champions last year.

The Italian hinted he had jobs on the table following the Foxes' shock Premier League title win last season.

Ranieri is in Spain for Leicester's last-16 Champions League clash at Sevilla with the Foxes' title defence in tatters as they battle relegation.

He was linked with the Italy job when Antonio Conte joined Chelsea last summer, but said he wanted to remain at Leicester.

Ranieri said: "I could leave last season, I won the title and I had something with other teams, but I wanted to stay here because I knew it was a difficult year.

"I came here to build, to build something good for Leicester, for everybody. I keep going, I maintain my mind in this way. I forget the title and I want to achieve something good for the fans, chairman and the city."

And as he brushed off speculation over his future he urged his players to stay in the tie ahead of next month's second leg at the King Power Stadium.

He added: "Maybe without the heavy league, we have clear minds and we know we are underdogs. If you see the last 10 years what Sevilla achieved, they are used to staying up the top but we are ready to fight and play our football. I am confident about a good match tomorrow.

"I ask my players to stay in the game 90-plus minutes, to be strong, to help each other. I don't think about Arsenal (and their second-half capitulation at Bayern Munich last week) - I think about Leicester and Sevilla.

"Of course the first match is always important to understand. If we play our football it could be a very good match."

Meanwhile, striker Jamie Vardy believes the Foxes can put their Premier League woes behind them at Sevilla.

Leicester are yet to score in the league this year, were dumped out of the FA Cup by Sky Bet League One Millwall on Saturday and sit a point above the relegation zone.

"You're always going to get criticism, you have to blank it out, forget about it all and focus on what's important," said Vardy. "The main thing is Leicester, picking up points and dragging us away from the situation we're in.

"It is strange (playing in the Champions League last 16 while in a relegation battle) but like you say it's a game where we can forget about it for one night. We have to completely forget what happened last year.

"We have to work hard, the boss, his staff and the players, and then come game time we need to put it all into practice."


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