Claudio Ranieri returned to the Premier League in July 2015 having been appointed Leicester City Manager.
Born on October 20, 1951 in the Italian capital Rome, Ranieri’s football career began in that very city with the signing of his first professional contract at Roma in 1973.
During his playing days Ranieri had a reputation as a rugged full-back with a strong understanding for the game and after two campaigns with Roma he made the switch to Cantanzaro in 1974, where he would stay for the majority of his playing career.
After two promotions in six years with the side from the south of Italy, Ranieri would go on to help both Catania and Palermo achieve further promotions before his playing career ended in 1986.
With a managerial career that has seen him take charge of 14 teams across a period of 29 years and five different countries, there can be few with as much experience as Ranieri.
Popular with players and media alike, the Italian has built a solid reputation as a manager with a capacity to nurture youth, motivate his players and manage squads full of big names.
After spells with two smaller sides in the form of Lamenti and Campania, Ranieri’s big break arrived in 1987 with Cagliari. It was there that he almost immediately turned the side around and guided them to promotions from Serie C1 to the heights of Serie A.
Italian giants Napoli soon came calling for the services of the talented young manager as they sought to recover from the loss of iconic Argentine Diego Maradona, with whom they had won the league in 1990.
The transition went smoothly under Ranieri, who achieved an impressive fourth placed finish in his first season and recognised the huge potential of Gianfranco Zola – the striker scoring 12 league goals for him in the 1991/92 season.
More challenges were soon around the corner for Ranieri, who joined Fiorentina in 1993, but he rose to them straight away –guiding the Viola to a dominant Serie B title in his first season. With a team built around the goal scoring prowess of legendary Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta, the Florence side soon made waves in the Italian top flight.
They claimed the Coppa Italia in 1996 with a win over Atalanta and the Supercoppa Italia in the same year by beating a star-studded AC Milan side in the San Siro. A third placed finish in the league that term was made even more impressive by a run to the Cup Winners’ Cup Semi-Finals, where they were beaten by Barcelona.
He then ended his stay in Italy for a move to Spain with Valencia. Handed a tough task at the Mestalla given the domestic dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona, Ranieri fared well and not only guided a revitalised Valencia to Champions League qualification but also to the Copa de Rey in 1999. That cup run encompassed stunning 7-5 and 7-2 aggregate wins over Barca and Real en route to an emphatic 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the final.
In 1999 he was then recruited by Atletico, but difficult financial constraints for the Club, including administration, made things even more testing on the pitch, meaning Ranieri stayed in the Spanish capital for just one season before making a fresh start in the Premier League with Chelsea in September 2000.
It was at Stamford Bridge that Ranieri would win the admiration of many supporters in England, not just for the impressive job he did rebuilding the side, but for his honesty, his passion and the loyalty he inspired in his players.
He secured a top six finish in his first season before bolstering his ranks with some shrewd signings such as Frank Lampard and William Gallas. With those additions Chelsea again secured a top six finish in 2001/02 alongside a run to the FA Cup Final, where they were beaten by Arsenal.
Former England skipper John Terry and current Leicester City star Robert Huth were brought further into the fray the following season as Ranieri shrugged off a summer of few arrivals to seal an all important top four finish with a final day victory over Liverpool.
That secured Champions League football for the side, and with the purchase of the club by Roman Abramovic in 2003, Ranieri was able to bring in a host of talent from across Europe to build the base of a team that would go on to achieve great things over the next decade.
Despite a second placed finish in the league and a run to the Champions League Semi-Finals, Ranieri was replaced at the Chelsea helm by Jose Mourinho in 2004 – a decision that paved the way for his return to Valencia for a second spell in June of that year. That period started well for the Italian, who picked up more silverware early in his reign with a Super Cup victory over Porto.
In 2007 Serie A came calling for Ranieri once again and this time it was relegation threatened Parma who were in need of his services.
The job he performed there will be well remembered by Parma supporters, who watched happily as he lifted them from the relegation battle to the safety of 12th place thanks to some huge results against teams above them in the table.
Next on the agenda for Ranieri were Juventus in 2007, who turned to him on the back of their return to Serie A from Serie B, and he didn’t disappoint – guiding them to a highly impressive third place in the league.
It was a spell that ended in 2009 after less than two seasons, but one that had helped to re-establish The Old Lady as a force in Italian football again. Soon afterwards he would take over at his boyhood club Roma on a two-year deal.
It was a first season that very nearly had a fairy-tale ending for Ranieri, whose side charged to the top of Serie A with a 23-game unbeaten run. However Internazionale snatched both the league and the Coppa Italia from within their grasp in a dramatic end to the season.
Following the 2010/11 campaign, it was Internazionale where Ranieri would next turn up, but that stay was short-lived as in May 2012 he made the switch to the French Ligue 2 with AS Monaco.
In his first season in the principality he guided the team to the Ligue 2 title and then an impressive charge up to second place in Ligue 1 the following campaign. High profile signings such as Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez saw them only narrowly miss out on the title.
He left Monaco in the summer of 2014 when he took up an international role managing the Greece national side. This was a position he occupied until November of last year.
Source: Leicester City