Former Juventus defender Nicola Legrottaglie has showered Claudio Ranieri with heavy praise following Leicester City’s sensational Premier League success.
Ranieri’s appointment at the King Power Stadium at the start of the season was met with scepticism by many, but the Italian won over his critics in emphatic fashion.
His eccentric and charismatic approach, maintained even when leading the Foxes in the highly-pressurised closing weeks of a historic season, endeared Ranieri to football fans up and down the nation.
And Legrottaglie, who played under Ranieri at Juventus, was full of praise for his former coach.
“He’s legendary. I would label him an example of how anyone should spur himself to achieve the impossible if you believe and all work towards the same goal,” he told Omnisport.
“When there is one and only one mentality, a synergy between the club, the players and the city you can do something amazing. This was Leicester’s secret. A lesson that should be taught in schools.
“Ranieri likes to be up to date, he is meticulous, he always proved to be a decent man first of all. I spent my best years at Juventus with him, two wonderful seasons when I became an international and with [Giorgio] Chiellini I became one of the best central defenders in Italy. Chiellini and I were the best and Ranieri is a gentleman and that makes the difference.
“Tactics-wise there are better managers, but football is not all about this. The person you are and the principles you give out are very important. That is why I am happy when Ranieri wins, although he won less than he deserved. Some people say that when you stick to the right principles you may win less on the pitch, but according to me you win in life.”
Next season will see another Italian join the Premier League, as Antonio Conte departs the Italy national team following Euro 2016 to join Chelsea, who endured a dismal title defence this time around.
“He [Conte] did the best thing he could do. He knows himself and prefers to follow his passion, which is to work every day on the pitch,” said Legrottaglie.
“He will harvest success conveying his concepts, passion and grit in England too. Next year it will be a very fascinating Premier League season. Many Italians will rather watch the Premier League than Serie A.
“It will be interesting tactically as we will see an Italian manager performing abroad. He will bring new concepts to the players and it will be fun to see how these players will adapt to the Italian mentality.
“This will be the turning point. Will the players adapt to Conte or Conte to them? From the outside, even for me, it will be nice to check this aspect.”
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