Claudio Ranieri favourite for Roma job

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ROMA MAKING CHANGES

Claudio Ranieri has emerged as the favourite to take the Roma job, following the departure of Eusebio Di Francesco.

Di Francesco, who guided the club to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season before being eliminated by eventual runners-up Liverpool, following back-to-back defeats to Lazio and Roma.

The Italian giants first lost 3-0 to rivals Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico last weekend, before then letting a 2-1 first leg lead to Porto slip in Portugal in midweek, losing 3-1 after extra time to be eliminated from the Champions League.

In Serie A, things haven’t looked much better, with Roma currently sitting outside of the top four, three points shy of Inter and four points behind third-placed AC Milan. Such a position has lead to the Roma manager being sacked less than 12 months after his Champions League exploits.

Barcelona vs Roma was one of the most incredible ties of last season’s competition, with the team overturning a 4-1 deficit from their defeat at the Nou Camp to go through on away goals after a 3-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico.

But they have ultimately been unable to build on last season’s successes, now being fifth in the Serie A table and recently lost 7-1 to Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia. That now leaves Ranieri, recently sacked by Fulham, with a golden opportunity to return to management with one of the biggest clubs in Italy.

Eusebio Di Francesco Aleksandar Kolarov Roma

RAINIERI’S HIGH AND LOW YEARS

Across Europe, Ranieri’s stock hit its pinnacle in 2016 when he won the Premier League trophy with Leicester City, arriving at a team who narrowly avoided relegation the year before and lead them to one of the incredible stories in the history of football.

However, despite success in the Champions League the following year that saw the club reach the quarter-final stage before being knocked out by Atletico Madrid 2-1 on aggregate, Ranieri was sacked by Leicester after fears of relegation had crept in.

To this day it remains one of the harshest managerial sackings of recent times, highlighting the ruthless nature of modern football. His return to the game was something of a surprise, joining Ligue 1 side Nantes where he spent just a single season.

After a flying start, Nantes’ season began to peter out and the Italian ended up leaving the club at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

Next came another surprising step, as he joined Premier League strugglers Fulham after the sacking of manager Slavisa Jokanovic, taking over a side that were conceding goals for fun and lingering in the bottom three.

Given what Ranieri had achieved in his time at Leicester, it was only natural for him to assume that he could be the man to turn around the Cottagers’ fortunes, though it only went sour. He lasted just three-and-a-half months at Craven Cottage before Ranieri was then sacked for the second time in the space of two years in the Premier League.

Winning just three of his 17 matches in charge, it's surprising to see that his next step could now be to become the Roma manager.

Claudio Ranieri Fulham

RETURNING TO ITALY

Ranieri has managed Roma earlier in his career, doing so between 2009-2011, sandwiched in between spells with Juventus and Inter Milan. It was in the Italian capital that the 67-year-old had one of the more successful times of his lengthy managerial career, winning 55% of his games in charge.

In his first season, Roma finished second in the Serie A table and were just two points behind eventual champions Inter Milan, who at that time were headed by Jose Mourinho and won a famous treble that term.

They had gone 24 games unbeaten in Serie A prior to losing 2-1 at home to Sampdoria - a game which, had they won, would’ve seen them crowned champions for the first time since 2001. Again, the second season didn’t quite go to plan for Ranieri, who resigned as Roma manager by February the following term.

Yet despite the difficult end of his previous spell in charge, as well as the way his time with Leicester, Nantes and Fulham came to a conclusion, Roma now look set to make him their manager once again.

Should the Italian arrive, he will be walking into some testing Serie A fixtures, facing five top-10 sides in his first eight fixtures in the league, including the likes of Napoli, Fiorentina and Inter Milan.

What he would be inheriting is one of Serie A’s top scorers, with Roma currently having the second-best attacking record in the division. Their total of 49 goals is topped only by runaway leaders Juventus, who have 55 to their name after 26 league games.

He also has one of Serie A’s top individual scorers from over the past four seasons, with striker Edin Dzeko netting 60 goals in Italy since joining the club in 2015, netting 85 times in all competitions.

Ranieri has this morning flown into Italy as contract talks began as he looks to get the team back into the Champions League ahead of next season.

It is a big job to take on, and the timing of it is a shock to say the least, but Ranieri certainly can't turn down the opportunity to become Roma manager at this stage of his career.

Edin Dzeko Roma Bosnia Manchester City Serie A

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