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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Ranieri: Italian football is hell

Claudio Ranieri has launched a stinging attack on Italian football, just days after he quit as coach of AS Roma.

Ranieri, who has also coached in England and Spain during his career, spent 18-months at Roma after being sacked by Juventus, but four straight defeats and violent fan protests saw him tender his resignation after the 4-3 defeat to Genoa. The Italian, in his first comments since leaving, did not hold back in his assessment of Serie A.

"In football there is heaven and hell. You can decide where you want to stand between the two but compared to England, it's hell here," he told Rai TV. ''I still want to coach. England fascinates me but I also like the Italian league. This year at Roma I became the only scapegoat but now there's them, the players, who must show everything."

The 59-year-old also hit out at some of his former players, which many will take to be a sly dig at club captain Francesco Totti, who he repeatedly clashed with during his time in charge.

"This year too many people let their personal interests get in the way of those of the team," Ranieri added. "When we spoke in the changing rooms everyone was agreed that we needed to rotate the team but then on the pitch when certain players were substituted ... Even now that I'm longer there, someone will have to sit on the bench.

"There are players who give 110% for one coach but then don't gel with another. Of course I believe that a good coach needs to make the most of each of his players' characteristics.

"But when I was a player I tried hard to understand what my coach wanted. I wasn't a great player but my motto was 'never give up'. That's like the English spirit, the players are lions and you have to hold them back. Here, this year with Roma I was disappointed that not every player had this spirit."

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