Claudio Ranieri, who led Leicester City to an unlikely English Premier League title, has revealed he is ready to quit French Ligue 1 club Nantes if he is asked to become Italy coach.
The 66-year-old has been one of the names touted as a possible replacement for Gian Piero Ventura who was forced to resign after Italy’s shock failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.
“Any Italian coach would love to be in charge of the national side,” Ranieri, who guided Leicester to their first ever Premier League title in 2016, told Sky Sport Italia.
“I have a contract with Nantes for two years and I have not received any messages, so I can’t say anything.
“But if I were to be contacted for the Italy job, I’d go to the Nantes president and ask to be released,” said the widely-travelled Ranieri, whose former clubs include Juventus, Napoli and Roma in Italy, Premier League giants Chelsea and Valencia and Atletico Madrid in Spain.
He also had a brief stint in charge of the Greek national side.
Ranieri joined Nantes this season and the club are in fifth position in Ligue 1, 10 points behind Lyon, who are in the fourth and final European qualifying spot.
“The day it’s decided we’ll see … if the opportunity arises I’ll discuss it (with him),” said Nantes president Waldemar Kita.
“I would also understand, in a way, that at the end of his career as a top coach, it could end well for him (with an offer) that will not present itself twice.
“I’m not one to curb professional and personal ambitions, so I’m not going to. If I was in his position I would do the same thing.”
Italy’s 1-0 aggregate play-off defeat to Sweden last year meant the Azzurri failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
Former Italy head coach Antonio Conte, now coaching Chelsea; Carlo Ancelotti, sacked by Bayern Munich last September, and Zenit Saint Petersburg coach Roberto Mancini are also among those linked to the coaching job.
Italy Under-21 boss Luigi Di Biagio has been appointed interim coach to oversee friendlies against Argentina and England next month.