Betrayed by his club but beloved by the fans, former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri has been a constant headline-maker in 2004. Occasionally puzzling, often eccentric, but always fascinating and refreshing, the Italian describes the highs and lows of an extraordinary season at Stamford Bridge -- and the dramatic end to his English journey. 'Hello, my sharks. Welcome to the funeral.' 'People have said I am a dead man walking -- but I am still moving!' 'Tonight I am a crazy man and Roman Abramovich is also going mad like me!' We rejoiced with him. We laughed with him. And we cried with him. In what turned out to be a year for the Blues resembling more a soap opera than a season of football, Claudio Ranieri reveals the highlights and the hurt of his farewell twelve months in England. This collaboration between Italian journalist Massimo Marianella and Ranieri promises to reveal the inside story of a rollercoaster year at Stamford Bridge, with a first-hand account of coaching the most expensively assembled team in the Premiership, alongside the increasing pressures of satisfying his bosses as Chelsea's season threatened to turn into anticlimax.
How did Ranieri keep all his players contented, when the value of his subs bench often exceeded that of most Premiership teams? What were the skills required to mould a group of exciting individuals into a team capable of challenging the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United at the top of the tree? With the media suggesting an uneasy alliance between Ranieri and Roman Abramovich, what was it that drove their complex relationship? What was the real truth behind the allegations that Ranieri's position was being undermined by his bosses? And when did the 'Tinkerman' discover his final denouement? Just some of the questions that will be answered in this book by arguably the most talked-about man in English football in 2004.
Claudio Ranieri was born in Rome in 1951. After an unspectacular playing career with Roma, he took up the coaching reins at Cagliari before moving on to Fiorentina, Valencia and Atletico Madrid. He quit Atletico in March 2000 and took over as manager at Chelsea later that summer. He was sacked in June 2004, and will join Valencia as coach for the new Spanish season. Massimo Marianella has been a broadcaster for Sky Plus, the Italian pay-per-view station, for the past eleven years. Voted Italian Television Sports Journalist of the Year in 1998 and Italian Broadcaster of the Year in 2001, he has been a close associate of Claudio Ranieri for many years.