This season Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has delivered more punch lines than Ricky Gervais. The enigmatic Italian is responsible for bringing back the feel good factor to the Premier League, which lets be honest has been a bit tedious over recent years with the dour spats between Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and of course Mr Smiley himself, the retired Sir Alex Ferguson.
We met up with the Mr Tinkerman himself in the Spring of 2013 when he was in the process of revitalising an ailing AS Monaco side and guiding his team of “Young Champions” to promotion. A truly genial and charismatic man, his quirkiness and honesty shone through. His views and enthusiasm for the game were both endearing and refreshing.
In typical Ranieri fashion he put at ease after our first question when we asked what do you like about Monaco?
He joked with a smile “The food, weather and the women are nice”
Today we celebrate Claudio Ranieri’s funniest quotes and wish him well for his title challenge with Leicester. Claudio we salute you.
“Football managers are like a parachutist. At times it doesn’t open. Here, it is an umbrella. You understand, Mary Poppins” Upon arriving in London to manage Chelsea in 2000
He’s a crazy man” – Ranieri on Ranieri.
“They showed good stamina and good vitamins” – The Arsenal win explained.
“He is my new little lion. And I like lions” – Ranieri on Hernan Crespo.
“I told my players ‘when you go on the pitch and you hear the song from Kasabian, that mean they want warriors’. I want to see them as warriors for the fans.
“Kasabian are a fantastic rock band from Leicester and I think the guitar man, Serge, is Italian.” Inspiring team talk to his Leicester players
“I can’t change now. I’m like Frank Sinatra – I always do it my way. I told the players everything I did in the Monaco game was wrong. I changed things to win the match – but we lost and I was thinking “Oh f***, Claudio, why, why? Bad Tinkerman!” – It was 1-1 in the Champions League semi-final first leg when Monaco had a man sent off. Ranieri made two attacking substitutes, and Chelsea lost 3-1.
“I must say thank you to the media because you do a great job now. Before you kill me! That crazy man! I give you a good espresso. A small one. I am Scottish man!” – Quashes rumours that his time at Stamford Bridge was coming to an end.
“If it is the case that you need just a first 11 and three or four more players, then why did Christopher Columbus sail to India to discover America?” – Ranieri discussing the tinkering of his Chelsea squad.
“Damien is Damien. When I don’t put him in the squad my mother, who’s 84, asks ‘why isn’t Damien playing?’ She kills me about it and that’s true”– Ranieri revealing that his mother’s favourite player is none other than Damian Duff.
“My only technical adviser is my mother. When I told her that Damien had injured his shoulder again, she said ‘Oh no!’ Who should replace him? I will call her before the game to ask.” – Ranieri revealing he asks his mother’s advice when picking teams. He was sacked by Roman Abramovich soon after.
“Two years ago I watched Carlton (Cole) play for the reserves and I saw two animals in him – one was a rabbit and the other a lion. I want to see that lion come out in him more often” – Ranieri on Carlton Cole. Cole scored four goals in his Chelsea career.
“This player Kante, he was running so hard that I thought he must have a pack full of batteries hidden in his shorts. He never stopped running in training.”
I had to tell him, “Hey, N’Golo, slow down. Slow down. Don’t run after the ball every time, okay?”
He says to me, “Yes, boss. Yes. Okay.”
Ten seconds later, I look over and he’s running again.
I tell him, “One day, I’m going to see you cross the ball, and then finish the cross with a header yourself.”
By Aaron Mundow
SEEN Sport feature with Claudio Ranieri