Cagliari's coach Claudio Ranieri salutes fans after the Italian Serie A soccer match between Cagliari Calcio and Fiorentina at the Unipol Domus in Cagliari, Italy, Thursday, May 23, 2024.
Cagliari's coach Claudio Ranieri salutes fans after the Italian Serie A soccer match between Cagliari Calcio and Fiorentina at the Unipol Domus in Cagliari, Italy, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Photo | AP)

Claudio Ranieri bids emotional farewell to his beloved Cagliari in last match of season

Ranieri, who famously steered Leicester City to the English Premier League title in 2016, said he would not coach another club but may consider offers from national teams.

CAGLIARI, Sardinia: Veteran Cagliari coach Claudio Ranieri bid an emotional farewell to the Sardinian team as well as possibly soccer management altogether on Thursday.

His departure was slightly spoiled as Cagliari, which had already secured Serie A safety, lost 3-2 at home to Fiorentina in its last match of the season.

Fiorentina snatched the win when Arthur converted a penalty with the last kick of the match in the 13th minute of stoppage time. The result also secured European soccer for Fiorentina next season.

The match came two days after Ranieri confirmed he would step down as coach of his beloved Cagliari, the team that also launched his impressive managerial career more than 35 years earlier.

Ranieri, who famously steered Leicester City to the English Premier League title in 2016, said he would not coach another club but may consider offers from national teams.

Ranieri already appeared to have tears in his eyes before kickoff when he was given a standing ovation by the fans as well as both sets of players. There was a giant banner unveiled in the stands that read “Eternal gratitude for a great man. Thank you, Mister” as well as plenty of smaller signs expressing the fans' love for Ranieri.

The 72-year-old Ranieri was given a guard of honor by Cagliari after the match and his eyes were glistening with tears as he gave a speech to the fans before walking round the field to salute each side of the ground and putting a team scarf around his neck.

Ranieri returned for a second stint at Cagliari in December 2022, with the side 14th in Serie B.

He pulled off something of a masterstroke to help Cagliari earn promotion and then continued to work his managerial magic to ensure it avoided going straight back down, securing Serie A safety last weekend.

Ranieri had coached Fiorentina for a four-year spell from 1993 and was presented with a special gift of a team jersey with his name on and a No. 1. Napoli, Juventus, Roma and Inter Milan are also among a long list of other clubs Ranieri also coached.

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