The Tinker Man Finally Hangs Up His Clipboard

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After a long and illustrious career, well known and well loved manager, Claudio Ranieri, has recently finally announced his retirement from the professional game as a gaffer, and the 72 year old Italian former defender goes out on a high having guided Serie A side Cagliari to safety, and away from relegation woes, in the 2023/24 campaign.

Having represented Roma, Catanzaro, Catania and Palermo during a playing career that exceeded 350 professional appearances, Ranieri truly made his name after stepping into coaching and management. His dug out career spanned 18 domestic clubs, including a brief stint as Greece boss and his time in management goes almost four decades as he began back in 1986.

Whilst The Tinker Man had mixed success across his career, few bosses can count Napoli, Fiorentina, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Roma, Inter Milan and Sampdoria to their names. He also returned to Cagliari, Valencia and Roma for second spells, as even when things went wrong (or he moved on) he remained well liked, and for good reason too with the success he garnered in different countries and divisions.

Despite his time at Chelsea, where he gained his moniker for team changes and substitutions, the absolute standout highlight from his career has to go down as his two year spell at Leicester City, as even neutral Premier League fans will remember the immortal ‘dilly ding, dilly dong’ press conference, and that came after he had already taken the squad out for pizza – it was a bizarre period of time.

But having survived relegation by the skin of their teeth before his arrival, next season Ranieri took them to a totally unexpected Premier League title in 2015/16 and as 5000-1 underdogs at the start of the year…well that was some achievement.

Leicester will be the highlight for many, but ending his career at Cagliari would also make many think that he had come full circle as it was where he truly began to make his name. Having already secured their top flight status, Ranieri more formally announced his decision to retire from club management ahead of their 3-2 defeat to Fiorentina. It had been known.

It might not have been the result he wanted to effectively bow out on, but his emotion was clear as their fans gave him an absolutely fantastic send off, and rightly they should. They were in the third tier when he first arrived back in 1988 and he oversaw consecutive promotions, having taken the side as they fought relegation. His return saw them in Serie B, and they were promoted via the Play Offs.

Ranieri will go down as a legend in the eyes of many fans, irrespective of their club, or country colours.

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