Watford appoint Claudio Ranieri as new head coach on two-year contract after sacking Xisco Munoz

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Claudio Ranieri famously guided Leicester City to the Premier League title  (Getty Images)
Claudio Ranieri famously guided Leicester City to the Premier League title (Getty Images)

Claudio Ranieri is back in English football after being appointed as Watford’s new head coach on a two-year contract.

Watford have turned to Ranieri - their 13th permanent manager since 2012 - after sacking Xisco Munoz after just 10 months in charge following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Leeds.

Ranieri emerged as a shock candidate to replace Xisco and he has now been officially appointed following talks with the club on Sunday.

The Italian, who famously guided Leicester City to a shock Premier League title triumph in 2016 and turns 70 later this month, left his role as Sampdoria manager at the end of last season.

Ranieri returns for his fourth job in the Premier League, 20 months after he was sacked by Fulham following a disappointing spell in charge at Craven Cottage.

He will be joined by assistants Paolo Benetti and Carlo Cornacchia as well as fitness coach Carlo Spignoli.

Xisco became the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season when ruthless Watford sacked him after just 10 months in charge, claiming “recent performances strongly indicate a negative trend at a time when cohesion should be visibly improving”.

Newly-promoted Watford are 14th in the Premier League with seven points from their first seven games since sealing an instant return from the Championship.

Ranieri’s first match in charge comes after the international break, when Liverpool visit Vicarage Road on October 16.

Watford then face Everton and Southampton before a difficult November fixture list that includes matches against Arsenal, Manchester United and two of Ranieri’s former employers in Leicester and Chelsea.

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