He may have been mocked over here as Chelsea's Tinkerman but Ranieri is considered Serie A's No.1 fire fighter - which is why he's been drafted in to rescue Inter from the hapless Gasperini.
The old adage in Italian football is that when things are going down the pan get someone in who can plug the hole and then find someone else who is going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Inter owner Massimo Moratti made his money in oil so as he watched Inter go down in flames on Tuesday at Novara - newly-promoted and pre-season favourites to go back down – he readied his minions to contact the Red Adair of Serie A: Claudio Ranieri.
Of late, the former Chelsea manager has answered emergency calls at Parma, Juventus and AS Roma so no doubt he was primed with his tin helmet and protective suit which has come in handy over a career where he has spent more time deflecting criticism from his detractors than enjoying the praise his undoubted talent deserves.
The job ahead is just to the Roman’s liking where the only way is up but don’t expect him to hang around as he will be on clock until the end of the season as Moratti attempts to lure Fabio Capello back into club football even if the ink is hardly dry on the new man’s two-year deal.
There had been rumours flying around yesterday suggesting that the ill-equipped Luis Figo would take over but that was has wide of the mark as Diego Forlan’s shooting; as Ranieri’s representatives had already been sighted entering Inter’s headquarters to thrash out a deal.
Of course the long shadow of his old nemesis Jose Mourinho not only hangs over Ranieri’s every move from now on, but has done so within the club since the moment he bid a tearful good-bye to the players after winning the Champions League just over 18 months ago.
The job ahead is just to the Roman’s liking where the only way is up but don’t expect him to hang around as he will be on clock until the end of the season as Moratti attempts to lure Fabio Capello back into club football
Rafael Benitez was on a hiding to nothing when he arrived to find a groups of players who had reached the pinnacle of their careers after winning the Scudetto, Champions League and Italian Cup – and having as Wesley Sneijder admitted “given every last ounce of blood, sweat and tears” to the Portuguese dream maker.
Leonardo sauntered across the street flicking the bird to AC Milan after falling out with Silvio Berlusconi over who was better looking – but then fell into the trap that everyone would forgive and forget he had cheated on both clubs so the Brazilian ended up running off with Paris St. Germain.
When he failed to coax Capello, André Villas-Boas and Marcelo Bielsa into the job, Moratti took the advice of his right hand man Marco Branca – yes, once of Middlesbrough but now a man who looks very dapper in a suit – and took a punt on Gian Piero Gasperini.
The 53-year-old had last been seen shown the door by another combustible Serie A president Genoa’s Enrico Preziosi who was pretty miffed that he had rebuilt his squad at his coach’s demanding only to see the team fail dismally.
And there he was turning up with his adherence to three at the back when Inter possessed two international full-backs of the highest quality in Douglas Maicon and Cristian Chivu who in theory would be expected to become wing-backs flanking a central midfield short of any real pace to make runs to support the attack and then funnel back to defend.
Sneijder was fielded in a more withdrawn role thus blunting the team’s attacking options – and from the moment he failed to lift the Italian Super Cup against their city rivals the softly-spoken Gasperini was on a hiding to nothing.
Celebrity Inter fan and Jude Law’s mate in the Talented Mr. Ripley – Fiorello - took to the streets to record a video diary of Gasperini’s musings on team tactics; mimicking the coach’s high-pitch voice in spoof team-talks and press conferences.
On the pitch it was equally comical: a pasting at Palermo on the first day of the season followed by a goal-defeat to Trabzonspor in the Champions League, a lack-lustre draw against AS Roma and then the humiliation at Novara was all too much for Moratti who ended Tuesday evening in a public shouting match with a group of home supporters who couldn’t resist crowing that their provincial team of journeymen had played the big city stars off the pitch.
That would never have happened in Jose’s time and even when the Special One’s men were struggling against some upstart they would roll their sleeves up and get ugly; bullying the opposition off the pitch.
The core of that Treble-winning side is still there albeit a couple of years older – and in captain Javier Zanetti’s case past pensionable age at 38 – but the problem is their guiding light, confessor and carrier of kit-bags when called upon is getting under everyone’s skin in Madrid.
However, Ranieri is as combative as they come; taking Juventus to third place on their return to the top flight after Calciopoli and then Roma to a whisker of the title two seasons ago.
He may bring some much-needed stability at Inter but as has been his lot through his career the dignified gentleman of Italian football will probably not be there to bask in the glory.
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