Valencia CF have sacked Italian coach Claudio Ranieri after the holders' exit from the UEFA Cup.
The decision was reached after an emergency board meeting at the Spanish club this morning. The 53-year-old Ranieri arrived in the summer for his second spell in charge at the Mestalla, following four years at Chelsea FC that culminated in finishing second in the English Premiership and reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season.
Under Ranieri, Valencia have struggled to match their own successes of 2003/04 when they won the Spanish title and the UEFA Cup - although they did lift the UEFA Super Cup last August with a 2-1 defeat of FC Porto. The club have not won for six games in the Primera División and, in last night's UEFA Cup match at FC Steaua Bucuresti, the holders surrendered a two-goal first-leg lead before losing 4-3 on penalties
Speaking last night, Ranieri had said: "Resign? I won't do it because I'm not the sort of person to give up. I will carry on fighting. I don't think we have deserved to lose our recent games, but we have done and we have to carry on because sooner or later the bad run will come to an end."
The Italian first led Valencia from 1997-99, guiding them to a Copa del Rey triumph and qualification for the Champions League. His return was sealed after he came to a compensation agreement with Chelsea, where he had been manager since September 2000, last May.
Plenty of experience
Ranieri has also coached Calcio Campania, Cagliari Calcio, SSC Napoli and AC Fiorentina - where he claimed the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup. After first leaving the Mestalla he had an eight-month spell at Club Atlético de Madrid but was unable to prevent the club being relegated to the Spanish second division for the first time in more than 60 years.