Claudio Ranieri claims he knew Roman Abramovich would sack him
Claudio Ranieri has admitted he knew he would be fired by Chelsea as soon as Roman Abramovich bought the club.
The Leicester boss faces his former side on Monday for the first time in the Barclays Premier League since being axed in 2004.
Jose Mourinho replaced him at Stamford Bridge after Ranieri had guided Chelsea to second, a year after Abramovich took control in 2003.
Ranieri has taken Leicester top this season in a stunning comeback to English football after replacing Nigel Pearson in the summer - and they will return to the summit with victory against the Blues after Manchester City and Arsenal moved ahead of them over the weekend.
But the Italian knew his number was up at Chelsea once Abramovich moved in.
He said: "Yes, immediately. The chief executive (Trevor Birch) told me there is a new owner and I said 'me and you are the first who go home'. You imagine, the new owner arrives and he wants to put in his own men. It is normal.
"If the new owner wants to change something, it is normal. I wanted to show our best and we bought some good players. I wanted to win something.
"In July Abramovich wanted to bring Sven Goran Eriksson, who was the manager of the (England) national team. It wasn't possible for him and he said 'OK start and we'll see what we can buy'."
A year after he left Chelsea won the title under Mourinho with the core of the squad signed by Ranieri.
He brought Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Claude Makelele to the club and had already agreed to sign Petr Cech while also targeting Didier Drogba and Arjen Robben before he left.
He added: "Nobody needed to tell me 'thank you', why?
"I chose Petr Cech and had been to Eindhoven to take Robben and I suggested Drogba but that is it.
"I think we made a very good performance my third year, without taking no player we arrived fourth.
"And we achieved the Champions League, for this Roman Abramovich bought the team."