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LONDON, April 7 (AFP)- Spanish giants Barcelona are attempting to lure experienced Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri away from Stamford Bridge in a bid to revive their flagging fortunes, according to reports here Sunday.

Barcelona, whose lost hopes of winning the Spanish Primera Liga title have topped off another mediocre season at the Nou Camp, say they have already spoken to the Italian coach who if hired would replace outgoing Carles Rexach.

Barcelona vice-president Angel Fernandez told the Sunday Times: "We have spoken to Claudio Ranieri, Javier Irureta of Deportivo La Coruna and Carlos Bianchi (ex-Boca Juniors).

"There was also some contact with Fabio Capello, but we could not accept some of his demands," added Fernandez, whose team's Champions League prospects were hit by a 1-0 defeat midweek in their quarter-final first leg tie at Panathinaikos.

Fernandez added: "We will finish this season and then the directors will take over from May and make the signings. Carles Rexach will finish this season.

"But yes, we have talked to Capello and will not be taking him on, and we are talking to Ranieri."

Ranieri, who joined Chelsea in September 2000, has an admirable track record in Spain after he took Valencia to Spanish Cup victory and launched them on to the Champions League stage between 1997-99.

In previous years he also took Italian outfit Cagliari from Serie C to the top flight Serie A, coached Napoli for two seasons and helped Fiorentina to promotion and an Italian Cup.
 

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Monday, April 8, 2002
Ranieri won't rule out Barca
By Adrian Curtis

Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri has not ruled himself out of the running for the Barcelona job.

Ranieri: Barca move?
(PhilCole/Allsport)
The Italian, who is in talks with the Stamford Bridge club over a new three-year contract worth around £40,000-a-week, has been identified by the Spanish giants as a possible replacement for Carlos Rexach at the Nou Camp.

Barcelona confirmed that Ranieri is one of three names on their shortlist and Ranieri said: 'It is very flattering when your name is mentioned in relation to a club like Barcelona.

'At the same time, these stories do not distract me from my objectives of giving my all to Chelsea to achieve fourth place in the Premiership and reach the FA Cup final.'

Ranieri had held detailed negotiations with Chelsea over a new three-year contract but Barcelona's vice-president Angel Fernandez said that Ranieri, Boca Juniors coach Carlos Bianchi and Javier Irureta of Deportivo La Coruna have been sounded out for Rexach's job.

Ranieri is in his second season at Stamford Bridge and still has one more year of his contract to run.

Meanwhile, Chelsea centre-half John Terry, who was substituted during the first half of Saturday's 3-0 win over Everton with a head injury that required ten stitches, admits he is baffled by Graeme Le Saux's continued absence from the England squad.

Le Saux was outstanding against Everton in a game which saw Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink give his side a 2-0 half-time lead with two trademark goals. Gianfranco Zola completed the scoreline in the closing seconds.

Le Saux is consistently being ignored by England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and many observers suspect it is because of his unpredictable temperament.

But Terry said: 'None of us can understand why Graeme's not in the England squad.

'We've heard rumours that it's his disciplinary record, but there are several players in the squad worse than Graeme.

'He does have a reputation for reacting but I think that is just down to his determination and his enthusiasm. Alan Smith is the same at Leeds. Graeme has been our most consistent player all season'.

soccernet
 
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