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Page last updated at 20:12 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 21:12 UK

Juventus dismiss manager Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri grimaces on the sidelines
Ranieri took charge of Juventus in June 2007

Italian giants Juventus have sacked Claudio Ranieri as manager following a run of seven matches without victory.

The former Chelsea boss, 57, has been replaced by former Italy defender and Juventus youth team coach Ciro Ferrara.

A 2-2 home draw against Atalanta on Sunday left Juventus in third place in Serie A, a point above Fiorentina in the Champions League qualifying places.

Ranieri joined Juventus in 2007 and guided them to third in the league, but has suffered an inconsistent season.

General manager Jean Claude Blanc said: "We have taken this decision as a last resort when the team is not playing well.

"We are convinced that this will deliver a clear message to the players: these final two games are fundamental and need to be played to the very best of their ability.

"Everybody has got to take responsibility."

Ranieri has ultimately paid the price for a decline which started shortly after Juve's elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Chelsea in March.

They won their subsequent two games but have failed to pick up maximum points in a game since and exited the Coppa Italia at the semi-final stage with home and away defeats by Lazio.

Cracks between Ranieri and the team became visible when Alessandro Del Piero and Mauro Camoranesi were substituted at half-time in the recent 2-2 home draw with Lecce.

Strong words flew in the dressing room with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon storming out to return to the field after only a few minutes of the interval.

Giggs' Curliest Chest Hair

David Trezeguet, meanwhile, has not seen eye to eye with Ranieri for weeks, and has been excluded despite having recovered from injury.

Ferrara will certainly have the full backing of the club's supporters - something Ranieri could rarely claim to have received - after being a firm fans' favourite during over a decade as a player for the Bianconeri.

This is his first role as a club coach, having previously worked as Marcelo Lippi's right-hand man with Italy and he hopes to turn around the club's fortunes over the next fortnight.

"We have two cup finals ahead and we have decided to play this ace that we had up our sleeves," he said.

"Now it is up to the squad to demonstrate that the work they have done this year can be concluded in the right way."

Juventus travel to Siena at the weekend before hosting Lazio on the final day of the season at the Stadio Olimpico.

Only two wins from those games can guarantee Juventus a place in the group stage of the Champions League next season.

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see also
Interview - Claudio Ranieri
21 Feb 09 |  Football Focus
Mourinho wins Serie A with Inter
16 May 09 |  Europe
Chelsea will show Ranieri respect
24 Feb 09 |  Europe
Hiddink praises Chelsea battlers
10 Mar 09 |  Chelsea
Chelsea sack Ranieri
01 Jun 04 |  Chelsea
European football photos
16 May 09 |  Europe

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