Though it will ultimately be up to time to decide, hopefully he will be remembered at Leicester for his triumph and not what followed. To celebrate the incredible dash on the tombstone of his Leicester career, we would like to highlight the finest moments of his time at the club.
The Introduction to Claudio
Leicester City’s hiring of Ranieri drew scoffs from just about everybody in the football world. Ranieri was known as the man who could never win a top-flight title despite managing some giants of the sport. He was also ridiculed with a nickname - “The Tinkerman” - meant to point out one of his least flattering managerial tendencies.
The Claudio Ranieri we became accustomed to as LCFC fans, however, was a different one. Our Claudio is about as lovable a character as you’re likely to come across in sports.
He was, and still is, a man defined by his enormous spirit. He charmed Leicester supporters - and eventually the whole footballing world - with his sturdy belief in the team, calming presence, and unique charisma.
This, hopefully, is who Sir Claudio will always be to Leicester fans.
Claudio’s “Big Revenge”
The Italian’s press conferences became sources of must-see clips throughout last season. They were the platform where we got to witness (and fall in love with) his wit and humor.
One of the best and most underrated press conference moments has to be his response to the prospect of competing against Quique Flores, the man who once replaced him at Valencia.
WATCH: “I want to kill him,” jokes Claudio Ranieri about Quique Flores. pic.twitter.com/76rkvgE5hK— BBC Leicester Sport (@BBCRLSport) November 5, 2015
Claudio Greets an Old Friend
Losing N’Golo Kanté still hurts. Claudio receiving him at the King Power makes it slightly better.
A seemingly insignificant moment lost in a season of suffering may appear out of place on this list, but I assure you it belongs. It belongs because it is a somewhat private display of Claudio’s character.
With limited witnesses present he still oozes joy and affection (even for somebody who left his team). His loving disposition is clearly never feigned, as his spark is visible regardless of the company that surrounds him.
Ranieri Named 2016 FIFA Manager of the Year
Claudio was officially named the 2016 FIFA Best Men’s Coach on January 9, 2017. It is just February and he’s out of a job.
Regardless, this award is one of the limited positives that has come Leicester’s way since actually winning the title. At the time, the club and its members were racking up year-end awards left and right, but this one felt special.
Sure, the entire team being recognized at the SPOTY awards was special too. But having one of our own acknowledged as the best at his job by an organization as global as FIFA was truly awe-inspiring, and the widespread adulation of Claudio as a person made this triumph even sweeter.
As iconic a scene as one could possibly witness in the world of sports.
Our beloved Italian leader brought his compatriot Andrea Bocelli to the King Power where he delivered an immaculate rendition of Nessun Dorma. Kicking off a celebratory affair dressed in a Leicester kit on stage next to Claudio made the performance even more beautiful than it already was.
Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong
This was peak Ranieri. Acting as a human bell, he woke everybody up to his personality.
“Dilly Ding, Dilly Dong” will surely live forever in the catchphrase hall of fame, if one of those exists. If not, I would like to officially petition for its creation in honor of this timeless mantra.
Many have speculated that Claudio lost the dressing room this season. Though it’s impossible to know the full truth, believing that he did is painful.
Reminiscing over magical moments - such as the press conference following the trophy presentation - makes it hard to fathom how it could have fallen apart so fast.
What Kasper Schmeichel and Christian Fuchs displayed here was not just respect, it was genuine warmth. Watching that solidified the belief that he was just as lovable to those close to him as he was to us outside observers.
A Man of the People
A room full of journalists greeted Claudio with a standing ovation at his first presser as a title-winning manager. In a profession where the employees must remain neutral, this kind of sign of respect is rare.
It was fitting, however, as Claudio had made a habit of showing journalists unusual respect by shaking each of their hands, even as the crowds grew.
This interaction is a perfect symbol for Claudio Ranieri the man, as well as Claudio Ranieri the legend.
Standing ovation for Claudio Ranieri as he arrives for press conference & as usual a handshake for every journalist pic.twitter.com/ARJETeceD3— Dan Roan (@danroan) May 5, 2016
Goodbye, Claudio. You will be missed.