Ranieri returns to Premier League as Watford appoint title-winning legend

Claudio Ranieri before Serie A match between Inter and Sampdoria

Claudio Ranieri is back in English football after officially taking over as the new head coach of Watford.

Ranieri, who famously won the Premier League with Leicester City in 2015-16, has agreed a two-year contract at Vicarage Road. He takes over from Xisco Munoz, who was sacked following the defeat to Leeds recently.

It is Ranieri’s first job since his contract with Sampdoria expired in the summer, and first in the Premier League since an ill-fated stint with Fulham.

The Italian tactician, often referred to as the ‘Tinkerman’, has sent a reminder of his true ability in two posts since back in his homeland. First, he steadied a sinking ship at his beloved hometown club Roma as their interim boss in 2019. They secured Europa League qualification under his guidance.

Then, after not being offered the permanent job, he took over at Sampdoria partway through the following season. They were in the relegation zone at the time, but he guided them to safety. Then, last season, they impressively came in the top half.

Ranieri will now be keen to remind those in England – where he also previously coached Chelsea – that he has still got what it takes to be a successful manager. He may have his work cut out for him at Watford, though.

The Hornets are known for their frequent sackings of managers, with Munoz the latest victim. The Pozzo family clearly have faith in Ranieri, though, having handed him the reins until 2023.

Along with Ranieri, Watford will have assistant coaches Paolo Benetti and Carlo Cornacchia, and fitness coach Carlo Spignoli in the dugout.

His first game in charge will be against Liverpool on October 16th at Vicarage Road.

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Ranieri’s managerial record

Ranieri turns 70 this month and his managerial career has already lasted 35 years – half his life. He has now committed to yet another job – his 22nd different tenure on a touchline.

His longest spell was his 199-game stint with Chelsea between 2000 and 2004. He was unable to win any trophies in that time though.

His best achievement will always be the title win with Leicester, where he coached between 2015 and 2017. Naturally, he was named the Premier League manager of the season in 2015-16.

Elsewhere he has won trophies with Cagliari, Fiorentina, Valencia and Monaco.

The target for Watford will be Premier League safety first and foremost after they returned to the top flight over the summer.

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