Monaco have announced that Italian manager Claudio Ranieri has left the club after two years in charge.
Ranieri, who took up the managerial reigns in May 2012 saw his side achieve immediate promotion to Ligue 1 before failing to oust Paris St Germain as French Champions, although the cash-rich club have achieved qualification for the Champions League next season.
Despite Monaco’s relative success, questions were constantly being raised regarding Ranieri’s future. Now, it appears that rescuing the principality club from Ligue 2 obscurity and guiding the club to a second place finish and elite European football just wasn’t enough to keep the Rome-born manager in a job.
Monaco vice-chairman Vasim Vasilyev had this to say about Ranieri departing to a press conference: "I can confirm the departure of Claudio Ranieri. We have taken the decision to part ways. I would like to acknowledge the very good job that Ranieri has done. It was a difficult decision, It's never easy when the results are good. But we believe that at this stage of the project we need to find a new dynamic.”
Portuguese manager Leonardo Jardim, who recently agreed with Sporting Lisbon to terminate his contract, is hotly tipped to take over at Monaco, after leading Sporting to a respectable second place finish in the Portuguese Liga, six points behind perennial title winners Porto.
Vasilyev however, refused to confirm the identity of the new manager, having this to say on the matter: "I cannot confirm the name of the new coach while the details are still being sorted. We are looking for a coach who has an attacking philosophy and who can create a good show for our supporters."
Whoever steps into the hot seat at Monaco will be able to call upon a multitude of talented players, including Joao Moutinho, James Rodriguez, Eric Abidal and Radamel Falcao, as well as the money of Russian billionaire businessman Dmitry Rybololev.
Once runners-up to a Jose Mourinho-inspired Porto in the 2004 Champions League Final, Monaco fans as well as Rybololev will be hoping that the new manager can deliver European success, as well as go one better than the second place finish that Ranieri achieved, nine points behind champions Paris St Germain and eight more than third-placed Lille in Ligue 1.
While Ranieri can be disappointed at his removal from the Monaco hot seat, the Italian can add Monaco to an already glittering CV, having taken charge of Inter Milan, Napoli, and Chelsea among other European clubs. Interestingly, despite having managed a host of top European clubs during his managerial career, Ranieri has failed to taste League success, boasting just Serie B, C and Coppa Italia titles during his time in Italy, as well as Intertoto Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the Ligue 2 title with Monaco. Ranieri was hoping that he would have been able to continue on at Stade Louis II, but after the final day 1-1 draw against Bordeaux, it appears that the Monaco board did not share his feelings.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU