Nantes confirms coach Claudio Ranieri's departure

FILE - In this Sunday March 4, 2018 file photo, Nantes' coach Claudio Ranieri shouts instructions at his players during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Nantes, at the Velodrome stadium, in Marseille, southern France. Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri confirmed his departure from Nantes on Thursday May 17, 2018 and is leaving the French club at the end of the season. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)

NANTES, France — Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri is leaving the French club at the end of the season.

Ranieri confirmed his departure on Thursday, a day after club president Waldemar Kita said the Italian manager would be in charge of his final game this Saturday against Strasbourg.

In a statement released by Nantes, Kita thanked Ranieri and his staff for "all the work done this season. We wish them a lot of success in their future projects."

The 66-year-old Ranieri was appointed last June on a two-year deal following the surprise departure of fans' favorite, Sergio Conceicao.

After challenging for European qualification this season, Nantes has been in poor form in recent weeks, winning just one of its past eight league matches. The club is in 10th place.

"I want to thank the president because he offered me the chance to come to Nantes and to return to the French league," Rannieri said.

He coached in the league from 2012-14, when he won the League 2 title with Monaco then led the Principality side to a runner-up finish in the topflight.

Ranieri, who guided Leicester to a stunning English Premier League title triumph in 2016, has also coached Juventus, Roma and Inter Milan in his much-traveled career. Ha has been in charge of other Italian sides as well as Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.

"I want to thank my players because the first half of the championship was wonderful, although the second part was more difficult," Ranieri said. "They gave everything, it really matters to me."

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