Ranieri: ‘Parma tougher than Leicester’

Claudio Ranieri described his adventures and regrets at Inter, Juventus, Sampdoria and Valencia, noting Parma was “tougher than winning the Premier League with Leicester.”

The 68-year-old has experienced such a varied career in Italy, England, Spain, France and Greece, but his biggest regret is returning to Valencia in 2004.

“I was coming off four years at Chelsea and I knew at the time it was a bad idea,” Ranieri told Sky Sport Italia.

“They had won the Liga title and UEFA Cup, but did not have a squad capable of repeating that. When things went badly, they sacked me. I was so upset that I took a year off from coaching, but then I received a call from Parma.

“My wife convinced me to take that job. It was a team that wanted to secure safety from relegation and it was ultimately an even tougher task than winning the Premier League with Leicester City.

“I arrived at Parma in mid-February 2007, was thrown straight in with no friendlies or tests, but the lads were marvellous and did everything I asked. I will always remember the Parma fans.”

When it comes to the big clubs in Italy, Ranieri’s history has been somewhat disappointing.

“I arrived at Juventus in a tough moment for them and I don’t think I could’ve done anything more. There were only five champions in that squad and a lot of kids.

“As for the Nerazzurri, I followed Jose Mourinho. We managed seven wins in a row, but at Christmas the club sold Thiago Motta and Philippe Coutinho, so the squad fell apart.”

He took the Sampdoria bench after Eusebio Di Francesco was fired in October 2019.

“I am enjoying the experience, I get along well with the club and players. The fans are also wonderful, because we were losing 1-0 to Lecce and only grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser. At the final whistle, the crowd jeered. If you’re losing to a team that you really should be beating, the fans in Italy tend to jeer all the way through, but they kept on cheering and supporting us.”

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