Nantes’ Italian head coach Claudio Ranieri reacts during the French L1 football match Nice vs Nantes on February 18, 2018 at the “Allianz Riviera” stadium in Nice, southeastern France. / AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE
Claudio Ranieri, who led Leicester City to an unlikely English Premier League title, has revealed he is ready to quit French Ligue 1 club Nantes if he is asked to become Italy coach.
The 66-year-old has been one of the names touted as a possible replacements for Gian Piero Ventura who was forced to resign after Italy’s shock failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.
“Any Italian coach would love to be in charge of the national side,” Ranieri, who guided Leicester to their first ever Premier League title in 2016, told Sky Sport Italia.
“I have a contract with Nantes for two years and I have not received any messages, so I can’t say anything.
“But if I were to be contacted for the Italy job, I’d go to the Nantes president and ask to be released,” said the widely-travelled Ranieri, whose former clubs include Juventus, Napoli and Roma in Italy, Premier League giants Chelsea and Valencia and Atletico Madrid in Spain.
He also had a brief stint in charge of the Greek national side.
Ranieri joined Nantes this season and the club are in fifth position in Ligue 1, 10 points behind Lyon, who are in the fourth and final European qualifying spot.
Italy’s 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat to Sweden last year meant the Azzurri failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
Former Italy head coach Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini are also among those linked to the coaching job.
Italy Under-21 boss Luigi Di Biagio has been appointed interim coach to oversee friendlies against Argentina and England next month.