Claudio Ranieri might have actually lost his marbles – such is his delirium at Leicester City’s success in this years’ Premier League campaign.
After self-proclaiming himself as “the sausageman” upon discovering a Leicester butcher had titled a sausage in his honour, the eccentric Italian coach seems to be descending into madness and no-one seems to care.
Clearly high on life, Ranieri recently revealed to bewildered journalists that he had bought all of the club’s players and staff little bells for Christmas:
“From the beginning when something was wrong I’ve been saying: ‘Dilly-ding, dilly-dong, wake up, wake up!’
So on Christmas Day I bought for all the players and all the staff a little bell. It was just a joke.”
Speaking with US website The Players’ Tribune, Ranieri explained how he felt he was living in a “dream” with Leicester sitting proudly at the top of the Premier League.
This comment is at least understandable, particularly given that Leicester’s main objective at the start of the season was simply to avoid relegation.
“Forty points. That was the goal. That was the total we needed to give our fans another season of Premier League football.”
Ranieri’s comments regarding two of his star players Vardy and Kanté certainly raised a few eyebrows, comparing his star striker to… well… a farm animal:
“Jamie Vardy, for example. This is not a footballer. This is a fantastic horse, he has a need to be free out there on the pitch.
“I say to him, ‘You are free to move however you want, but you must help us when we lose the ball.”
I’m not sure who is more mental: Ranieri who’s philosophical metaphors are simply on another level, or Vardy, who has scored a ridiculous total of 19 goals for Leicester this season, second only to Harry Kane in the Premier League scoring chart.
Moving on to rising French star, Kanté, who arrived for £5.6m from Caen in August, Ranieri noted:
“This player Kante, he was running so hard that I thought he must have a pack full of batteries hidden in his shorts.
“I had to tell him, ‘Hey, N’Golo, slow down. Slow down. Don’t run after the ball every time, okay?’
“He says to me, ‘Yes, boss. Yes. Okay.’ Ten seconds later, I look over and he’s running again.”
Leicester’s narrow victory over Southampton on Sunday extended their lead over second-placed Tottenham Hotspur to seven points and means they are now, at most, four victories away from winning their first top-flight title.
If that happens, don’t be surprised if Claudio Ranieri ends up being institutionalised.