On this day in 2015: Claudio Ranieri takes Leicester reins for historic season

Claudio Ranieri, pictured, replaced Nigel Pearson on this day in 2015 (Mike Egerton/PA)
Claudio Ranieri, pictured, replaced Nigel Pearson on this day in 2015 (Mike Egerton/PA)

Claudio Ranieri was appointed Leicester manager on this day in 2015, kick-starting a remarkable campaign which saw the Foxes crowned Premier League champions.

Ranieri signed a three-year deal to replace the sacked Nigel Pearson at the King Power Stadium, returning to English football after an 11-year absence following his dismissal from Chelsea in 2004.

It was a 16th managerial role for the then 63-year-old, whose reign will always be remembered for the amazing, against-all-odds title success – the first in Leicester’s history – in his only full season at the helm.

Leicester City v Everton – Barclays Premier League – King Power Stadium
Claudio Ranieri guided Leicester to the Premier League title in 2016 (Nick Potts/PA)

“I never expected this when I arrived,” he said after the title was secured in May 2016, with his side having been 5,000-1 outsiders at the start of the campaign.

“I’m a pragmatic man, I just wanted to win match after match and help my players to improve week after week. Never did I think too much about where it would take us.

“The players have been fantastic. Their focus, their determination, their spirit has made this possible. Every game they fight for each other and I love to see this in my players. They deserve to be champions.”

Burnley v Leicester City – Premier League – Turf Moor
Ranieri was sacked in February 2017 with the Foxes 17th in the table (Martin Rickett/PA)

Leicester and Ranieri failed to hit the heights the following season, however, and he was sacked in February 2017 with the east midlands club in 17th position, just one point above the relegation zone.

After being dismissed, the Italian said: “After the euphoria of last season and being crowned champions, all I dreamt of was staying with Leicester. Sadly this was not to be.

“The adventure was amazing and will live with me forever. My heartfelt thanks to everybody at the club, everybody who was part of what we achieved, but mostly to the supporters.”