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Serie A season preview: AS Roma

AS Roma 2 hours ago
Read
May 18, 2009

Tinkerman's trouble in Turin

The writing has been on the wall for some time, although the timing could have been better. Having been told that the Juventus board would wait until the summer to make their decision over his future, Claudio Ranieri was sacked by the Old Lady with two games left in the Serie A season.

The 57-year-old had not overly impressed at a club that expects to be challenging at the top of the Italian table after the Calciopoli scandal that sent them down to Serie B in 2006; but Juve are still in third position and one point ahead of Fiorentina in the race for the final automatic Champions League place.

New faces are likely to be seen as Brazilian midfielder Diego teeters on the brink of joining the club - a replacement for the departing Pavel Nedved - and defender Fabio Cannavaro is set to return. But it is the spotlight on the manager that has attracted the most attention.

A draw against Atalanta sealed Ranieri's fate and his decision to start Alessandro Del Piero on the bench, while vindicated by the performance of Vincenzo Iaquinta, drew criticism from those who had already registered their disapproval with 'the Tinkerman's' methods.

Some have pointed to the talented Sebastian Giovinco as a hope for the future, but the diminutive midfielder was not given enough of a chance to impress by Ranieri and has expressed his unhappiness at his bit-part role with the first-team.

Iaquinta, too, was overlooked far too often in the first half of the season, while the future of French striker David Trezeguet has been up in the air even before he clashed with the manager over his reaction to being substituted against Chelsea in the Champions League.

Ranieri's man-management skills have been called into question and the former Chelsea boss has also been embroiled in a media row with Inter boss Jose Mourinho, saying: ''Am I envious of him? Not at all. Everybody gets what they deserve in this world. I'm not even fussed about money, as that's the least important thing for me.''

Juve may have finished a long way behind Inter, with numerous distractions hindering their chances of success, but many Turin fans will not point the finger solely at Ranieri. Widespread criticism of the chairman and directors has made it a tough job to do, while an ageing squad has been unable to keep pace with the elite and changes have been needed for some time.

Indeed, Ranieri's exit was one of the worst kept secrets in Italy. He was always likely to leave in the summer and it was the club's Champions League exit that really sealed his fate. Never looking completely settled, it is not a surprise to see him go and the new man should be given funds this summer to change things around.

Former Juventus captain Antonio Conte, now manager of Bari, Roma manager Luciano Spalletti and Genoa manager Gian Piero Gasperini are three potential replacements who have been touted in Turin over the past week, while the Italian will be immediately replaced by Juve legend Ciro Ferrara.

A run of eight games without a victory in all competitions may have ruined Ranieri's reputation for the short-term, but failure to reach the automatic Champions League spots could have more of a damaging impact on the club given the timing of their decision to let their manager leave.

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