Martin O’Neill staying as Leicester opt for Ranieri

The Republic of Ireland will not have to find a new manager after the appointment of Claudio Ranieri yesterday ended speculation that Martin O’Neill could return to Leicester City.

O’Neill was last week heavily-linked with a return to a club where he enjoyed huge success between 1995 and 2000.

However the Foxes have hired Ranieri to replace Nigel Pearson, who was relieved of his duties last month because the club insisted “fundamental differences in perspective exist between us”.

The much-travelled Italian has signed a three-year deal at the King Power Stadium but his arrival has not gone down well with everybody.

Former club icon Gary Lineker called the appointment “uninspiring”.

“Claudio Ranieri is clearly experienced, but this is an uninspired choice by Leicester,” he said.

“It’s amazing how the same old names keep getting a go on the managerial merry-go-round.”

Ranieri has been out of work since a winless four-game stint with Greece in 2014 was ended after the country were beaten 1-0 by minnows the Faroe Islands.

The 63-year-old former Chelsea boss said the chance to work in the Premier League was impossible to resist.

He said: “I’m so glad to be here in a club with such a great tradition as Leicester City.

“I have worked at many great clubs, in many top leagues, but since I left Chelsea I have dreamt of another chance to work in the best league in the world again.

“I wish to thank the owner, his son and all the executives of the club for the opportunity they are giving me.

“Now I’ve only one way for returning their trust: Squeeze all my energies to getting the best results for the team.”

Leicester’s vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha called Ranieri “one of the world’s elite managers” and said his vast experience made him the outstanding candidate for the job.

Srivaddhanaprabha said: “It is my great pleasure to welcome Claudio Ranieri — a man of remarkable experience and knowledge that will lead us into the next phase of our long-term plan for Leicester City.

“His achievements in the game, his knowledge of English football and his record of successfully coaching some of the world’s finest players made him the outstanding candidate for the job and his ambitions for the future reflect our own.

“To have attracted one of the world’s elite managers speaks volumes both for the progress Leicester City has made in recent years and for the potential that remains for the club’s long-term development.”


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