Monday, 4 June 2007

Juve appoint Ranieri as coach

Juventus have appointed Claudio Ranieri as their coach after parting company with Didier Deschamps last month following their promotion back to Serie A.

"When Juventus call, you don't say 'no' and I didn't. We want to get Juve back where they belong as quickly as possible, both in Italy and in Europe," the new man said in a press conference this evening.

Following a meeting of the Bianconeri board of directors, the Turin club issued a statement saying: "Ranieri is the right choice in accordance with Juventus's objectives and traditions. He is a coach with experience and has an international vision of football."

The 55-year-old, who has signed a three-year contract, resigned from his position at Parma last week having helped the side avoid relegation from Serie A. He had taken charge in February after the sacking of Stefano Pioli and lifted Parma from second from bottom to 12th place in the table.

Looking forward to the job, Ranieri said: "It’s a great challenge, tough and electrifying. We need to work hard and get back to the positions which Juventus deserve to be in. I thank Juventus for choosing me and this fills me with pride. There is an ambitious project and I’m certain that we will do well."

When asked what his side could realistically achieve next term, Ranieri insisted that it will take time to rebuild the club and has urged the fans to be patient. "The club have told me they want to be back to the very highest levels in five years, we’ll look to make that happen sooner.

"I was shown the possibility of taking Juventus back to the positions where they are used to competing. The squad will be a mix of champions and youngsters with great potential. Our transfer targets? We certainly won’t be giving any names to the media," he added.

"It is very important that a coach is respected by the most important players in the squad and Ranieri certainly is. We have given him a three-year contract because stability is important for our project and we were in agreement on many of our strategic plans," said Juventus President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli.

His departure from Parma increased speculation of a return to English football and he admitted last week that he was tempted to take charge of Manchester City if the club was taken over by Thaksin Shinawatra.

A former Roma defender, Ranieri coached Cagliari, Napoli and won the Italian Cup with Fiorentina before moving to Valencia in Spain, lifting the Spanish Cup then joining Atletico Madrid. He subsequently switched to English football and spent four campaigns with Chelsea, guiding the London outfit to the 2004 Champions League semi-finals.

He returned to Valencia for a less successful second spell, yet had been out of work since February 2005 until Parma came calling.

[Serie A 2006-07 Managerial Changes]

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