Claudio Ranieri is one of football's good blokes. And no manager going around is more deserving of a starring role in the sport's most astonishing feel-good story; Leicester's logic-defying run to the Premier League title.
Prior to taking up the Foxes gig, the 64-year-old Roman had been sacked
as Greece coach after the former European champions suffered a
humiliating home defeat to the Faroe Islands. England legend and
respected pundit Gary Lineker tweeted about his appointment at the time,
"Claudio Ranieri? Really?"
In 30 years of management, across four of Europe's top leagues, Italy,
Spain, France and England, Ranieri had never won a major title. His
zenith, aside from a couple of cups and lower-division titles, had been
second-place finishes with Chelsea, Juventus, Roma and Monaco.
Ranieri's team, playing a very English, very simple 4-4-2 evolved over
the season. Not in style or personnel - the days of the Tinkerman were
long gone - but in temperament. The manager instilled a belief in the
squad that became apparent as the campaign wore on. No longer was this a
freewheeling side with nothing much to lose, it was now a highly
efficient unit brimming with belief and shooting for the stars.
Nice-guy Claudio, who never used to win the big prizes, now has a victory few managers in history can match.