Cagliari coach Claudio Ranieri reveals he rejected offers from two national teams to remain at Cagliari and says he quoted club legend Gigi Riva before today’s 2-0 win over Sassuolo, which keeps the Sardinians in Serie A.

The Sardinians needed a win from their final two games to be sure of Serie A safety and got it at the Mapei Stadium this afternoon, thanks to Matteo Prati off the bench and a late Gianluca Lapadula penalty.

“The last feat is always the best one,” Ranieri told Sky Sport.

“The first time I secured survival with Cagliari was in 1991 and it came on May 19 in Emilia Romagna, like today. It brings good luck.”

It is an extraordinary achievement for Ranieri, who had already scraped promotion in last year’s Serie B play-offs at the last minute against Bari.

“Before the game against Bari, I received a call from Gigi Riva,” Ranieri recalled.

“He told me to tell the lads that an entire region was backing them. I passed on his message and I did the same today.”

Rough ride for Ranieri

Ranieri started badly this season, with three points in the opening nine rounds. He then handed in his resignation mid-season, only for the players and club to convince him to change his mind.

“This team needed a shock at a difficult moment. I wanted to leave, but the lads stopped me because they said they wanted to continue with me,” the coach explained.

“Usually, when you say something like this, the players keep their heads down and just accept it. This time they rebelled and asked me to stay. So I said, ‘ok, I’ll stay, but you have to wake up.’ I received offers from two national teams, but I said no and I decided to stay. I’ve always followed my heart and I have more enthusiasm than on my first day.”

It is the second time Ranieri has gone on this journey with Cagliari, taking them to promotion and securing safety 35 years ago.

Cagliari have scored 14 goals from players who came off the bench in Serie A this season and 20-year-old Prati is the latest. Ranieri’s contract with the Sardinians runs out in June 2025.

“I have another year left in my contract, but let me rest now. We’ll see. The President said it depends on me,” the coach concluded.

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