Belfast Telegraph

Claudio Ranieri admits to trying to sign Antonio Conte during his playing career

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has revealed he failed in an attempt to sign Antonio Conte at Fiorentina.

The Foxes chief wanted to bring the current Chelsea boss to the Stadio Artemio Franchi when Conte was playing for Juventus.

It was part of a double raid as he targeted Angelo di Livio who eventually joined Fiorentina in 1999, two years after Ranieri had left the club.

Ranieri faces Conte when Chelsea visit the King Power Stadium for their EFL Cup third round clash on Tuesday and admitted he is a big fan of the 47-year-old.

He said: "I have known him a long time. When I was Fiorentina manager he played for Juventus and I wanted to bring him and Di Livio in but it wasn't possible. I then watched him when he was manager at Siena and together we were at national teams with Greece and Italy.

"We weren't too close (to signing Conte) but it wasn't possible. I tried and when you are in the market you try to find the right players and, for me, him and Di Livio were very good players for us but it wasn't possible.

"He is a nice boy, a hard worker, a good mentality, a strong mentality."

The last time the pair faced each other Ranieri was sacked by Inter Milan following a 2-0 defeat to Conte's Juventus in March 2012.

Conte was appointed Chelsea boss in the summer, after managing Italy at Euro 2016, and lost his first game on Friday when they slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League but Ranieri offered his advice.

He said: "Just understand the league, it's different from Italy and less tactical but every time it's a battle. You never know when you start what the result will be because anything could happen in the Premier League. The last 10 minutes are the more important."


From Belfast Telegraph