Friday, February 25, 2011

25 February 2005 - Apparently, Thomas Wolfe Was Right

On 25 February 2005, Valencia sacked manager Claudio Ranieri after only eight months into a three-year contract, proving the adage "you can't go home again."

It was Ranieri's second stint at the Estadio Mestalla. He had first joined the club in July 1997 and soon delivered their first major silverware in 18 years with the 1998 Intertoto Cup, followed by the 1999 Copa del Rey. In June 1999, he left to join Valencia's league rival Atlético Madrid.

His time in Madrid was less successful; Ranieri resigned in March 2000 amid rumors of his imminent sacking while Atlético ended the season with relegation. He landed at Chelsea in September 2000 and guided the Londoners to a second-place league finish in 2004, their best position in the final table in 49 years. But he was not around for long to enjoy their newfound success, as he was sacked in May 2004 by owner Roman Abramovich.

Ranieri then returned to Valencia in June 2004, but was unable to recapture his prior magic. A strong start soon gave way to a slump in October. Supporters criticized his tactics, claiming he failed to settle on an established rotation. By February 2005, Valencia had been eliminated from European competition and, even though they were in sixth place in La Liga, the club chose to part ways with their once-loved manager.

Since then, he has taken charge of Parma (2007), Juventus (2007-09), and Roma (2009-11). He resigned from Roma earlier this month after a string of three defeats dropped them from fourth place to eighth in Serie A.

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