Ranieri rails against ‘stupid’ title talk

CLAUDIO RANIERI insisted only a “stupid man” would expect Chelsea to win the Premiership title this season.

Ranieri is determined to reduce the level of expectation weighing down his young side despite the seven high-profile arrivals at Stamford Bridge in a £75million (€106m) spending spree following the takeover of Roman Abramovich. He insists Chelsea should not be bracketed alongside Manchester United, Arsenal or even tomorrow’s opening Premiership opponents Liverpool.

“Only a stupid man would think we can win the title this season,” Ranieri said. “An intelligent man would know there are three big teams, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, who are settled and have been around for years. It’s impossible to compare us with them. We have only just started building and there is a big difference between them and us.”

Ranieri argued that if he or Abramovich had been looking for a quick fix, then they would not have been signing younger players such as Glen Johnson, Joe Cole, Damien Duff and Wayne Bridge.

“These amounts of money are beyond my wildest dreams. It’s unbelievable what has happened. I could never have imagined things to have changed so much since last year,” he said. “I am very privileged. I am the only manager in the world in this position. But if you wanted to win the title, you would have bought players aged 28 or 29. We are trying to build a team of younger players with some more experienced players. I said I wanted to build in this way and Mr Abramovich agreed with me.”

Real Madrid midfielder Claude Makelele could be sold to the Blues when club president Florentino Perez returns from holiday on Monday, claims the player’s agent.

Marc Roger said: “Florentino Perez said last year he would sell Makelele for €10m and I am sure Chelsea will offer a lot more than that,” he said. “On Monday the people from Chelsea are coming here; I have a great deal of respect for Florentino and I respect his word.”

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