Former Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri is back in the Premier League [burl=885303]after being confirmed as the new manager of Fulham[/bul], replacing Slavisa Jokanovic.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look back at some of the memorable quotes from the Italian during his time at the King Power Stadium, where he guided the 5,000-1 shots to a remarkable Premier League title success in May 2016.
Pizza and Sausages
Ranieri offered his players the promise of pizza before they finally kept their first clean sheet of the season in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace during October 2015.
“I told them, if you keep a clean sheet, I’ll buy pizza for everybody. I think they’re waiting for me to offer a hot dog too.”
As the club later set the pace at the top of the Premier League, a Leicester butcher – W Archer & Son – created a sausage in his honour. Ranieri said: “I pay for pizza, you pay for the sausage. I am the sausageman.”
The Italian gave his squad bells as a Christmas present in 2015 to remind them not to slip up in training.
“From the beginning when something was wrong I’ve been saying: ‘Dilly-ding, dilly-dong, wake up, wake up!’ So on Christmas Day I bought for all the players and all the staff a little bell. It was just a joke.”
Vardy the thoroughbred
Claudio Ranieri, centre, built up a close bond with his players like England forward Jamie Vardy. (Nick Potts/PA Images)
Ranieri described striker Jamie Vardy as a horse in an interview with United States website the Players’ Tribune. “This is not a footballer. This is a fantastic horse,” he said.
Marc Albrighton, Vardy and Jeff Schlupp were named as three of the fastest players in the top flight, leading Ranieri to compare them to the RAF. “I say my team is like the RAF, it’s fantastic – whoosh whoosh! – I love it.”
Thank you for the music
The Foxes play Leicester rockers Kasabian before their games – with frontman Tom Meighan a regular at the King Power Stadium.
Ranieri said: “I told my players ‘when you go on the pitch and you hear the song from Kasabian, that means 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.”
Ranieri tried to explain his emotions after he shed a tear following Leicester’s 2-0 win at Sunderland in April 2016 which briefly put them 10 points clear. He said: “It’s fantastic when you see before the match, an old lady with a Leicester shirt outside the stadium. I say: ‘Unbelievable. They come from Leicester to support us.’ This is my emotion.”
Leicester captain Wes Morgan and manager Claudio Ranieri lift the Premier League trophy. (Nick Potts/PA Images)
Ranieri finally admitted, with four games left in 2015-16, Leicester were going for the title after sealing a Champions League group stage spot.
READ MORE: Watch: How Ryan Tubridy’s brother prevented a New Zealand try against Ireland in 1989
He said: “Now we go straight away to try to win the title. We are in the Champions League, dilly ding, dilly dong – come on. We are in the Champions League, it is fantastic, terrific. Well done to everybody.’”
The Italian became less playful as this season wore on and results declined, admitting the Foxes were in a relegation battle in November 2016. He said: “It was important to keep it going until Christmas, as we are in the relegation battle. For this battle I need warriors, and they showed me what I wanted to see.”
In February 2017, Ranieri admitted he could have been too loyal to the misfiring players who won the title. He said: “I could be (too loyal), could be. It is difficult when you achieve something so good, you want to give them one chance, two chances, three chances. Maybe now, it is too much.”