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Football

Agents: Ranieri was misrepresented


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Ranieri makes a point ahead of the Champions League semifinal

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MADRID, Spain (Reuters) -- Claudio Ranieri's agents says the Chelsea coach was misrepresented in an interview in which he criticized the club's owner Roman Abramovich.

In a statement, First Artist said their client had "the highest regard" for the Russian billionaire.

"This is a complete misrepresentation of an interview done three weeks ago and should not have been taken seriously," the statement said.

In an interview in Spanish sports daily Marca on Tuesday the 52-year-old Italian said Abramovich had wanted to appoint England manager Sven Goran Eriksson when he took over the club last year.

"Look I already have the Abramovich sword embedded in me. I'm convinced that even if I win the Champions League I will be sacked," Ranieri wa quoted as saying.

The interview took place on April 8 and appeared ahead of Chelsea's Champions League semifinal first leg away to Monaco on Tuesday.

"Ever since he arrived at the club Abramovich wanted Eriksson. From the very start. They even met in the summer," Ranieri stated.

"But Eriksson said he couldn't leave the England team and so the next day Abramovich met me and told me: 'OK, you've done a good job these last few years and you are going to carry on."'

Ranieri said Abramovich, who took over in July, had little understanding of the work he had done the previous season when he steered Chelsea to fourth place in the Premier League.

"Abramovich knows nothing about football," said Ranieri.

"That's the real shame. If he had understood what my side had achieved that season he would have valued me more highly. We did it all without any money."

Abramovich has spent some $200 million on new players this season but Ranieri said the supremo had no appreciation of how difficult it would be to make the team gel.

"It was a very tough job to sign so many players and get them to play together. Abramovich didn't realize that. He thought I'll sign that one and that one and then we will win."


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