Claudio Ranieri being a very nice man is almost a standing joke. That’s not to say it’s untrue, or annoying, but rather that every week there are new stories which make the Leicester City manager seem the nicest guy in football.
There seems to be a positive Ranieri story for every Leicester City occasion and, sure enough, the club’s Champions League opener against Club Brugge has brought its own.
The Premier League champions travel to Belgium for their first Champions League group game on Wednesday night. It’s an important one, a win for Leicester would see a big boost to their chances of qualifying from the group.
On the other side is Club Brugge goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle, and in Ranieri’s second period in charge of Valencia, Butelle was a young goalkeeper coming through.
In a friendly against Italian club Parma, Ranieri brought the 21 year old on for the final half hour. He lasted less than ten minutes after a serious collision saw him leave the field.
Butelle then had to undergo emergency surgery to remove his spleen, and Belgium’s HLN explain it was a very serious situation at the time.
The French goalkeeper has told HLN that when he awoke in hospital, it was Ranieri who was sat by his side: “It does something to you if the first thing you see upon waking after major surgery is your trainer sitting right next to your bed.
“That shows his qualities as a man… You should also know that the team was about to leave for training camp, to China or somewhere, but he has made time.
“That will stay with me forever.”