You all remember the legacy of Leicester City Football Club and the sad tale of Claudio Ranieri, who was sacked by the Thai ownership after the Foxes were standing on the brink of relegation, right?
— FC Nantes (@FCNantes) June 15, 2017
Well, as fortune may have it, the miracle worker that could is not done managing European club football just yet. With Sergio Conceicao getting the green light to manage Champions League-bound FC Porto in the Portuguese Liga, Ranieri, at the ripe old age of 68, is hoping to bring Nantes back to its glory days. Nantes appealed to the LFP for an exemption to the Over-65 rule and it has been granted, allowing for Ranieri’s managerial rule to continue.
But as the maxim goes, age is just a number. Experience matters. The so-called glory hunters often forget that it was Ranieri himself who helped AS Monaco, the current incumbent kings of Ligue 1, make a glorious return to the top flight back in 2013. They rather associate Monaco’s success from a managerial standpoint with Leonardo Jardim, who recently signed an extension to remain the club’s gaffer through 2020.
But Ranieri’s reputation has made him a cult hero in Italy, England, France, Spain, and elsewhere. He has a positive personality, is a expert tactician with years of experience working with some of the most iconic club brands of this sport has to offer: Napoli, Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Valencia, among others. The right attitude and mindset was what helped make Leicester City 2015-16 campaign unforgettable in every way, and FC Nantes may come in to surprise the establishment of the league in Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, Nice, and Marseille.
11 – Claudio Ranieri was 11 years & 10 months old when Nantes played their 1st ever Ligue 1 game on 1st September 1963. Mister. pic.twitter.com/PKMsQUPbmU
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 13, 2017
The last time the boys from FC Nantes won the league? 2001. The year before? Monaco were champions. The Monegasques are the current rulers of the competition. If patterns are to be believed, this could be the year that Nantes becomes the Leicester City of French club football (to an extent, mind) and win its ninth Ligue 1 title.
As the Andrea Bocelli song goes…it’s time to win again, FC Nantes. (Just not against Paris, because, we here at The Stoppage Time have something going for them, you know? Grazie, merci.)