Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has admitted he wanted to sign Antonio Conte as a player while he was at Fiorentina.
The two Italians will face off tomorrow morning when Chelsea travel to the KP Stadium in the EFL Cup third round.
However, Ranieri revealed to the press that he had previously had his eye on the new Blues manager, trying to lure the midfielder to La Viola from Juventus in the mid-1990s.
“I have known him a long time. When I was Fiorentina manager he played for Juventus and I wanted to bring him and [Angelo] Di Livio in but it wasn’t possible. I then watched him when he was manager at Siena and together we were at national teams with Greece and Italy,” said Ranieri.
“We weren’t too close [to signing Conte] but it wasn’t possible. I tried and when you are in the market you try to find the right players and, for me, him and Di Livio were very good players for us but it wasn’t possible.
“He is a nice boy, a hard worker, a good mentality, a strong mentality.”
A 2-0 win for Conte’s Bianconeri in 2012 saw Ranieri deposed from Inter Milan in the last time the two managers crossed paths, yet the 2015-16 title winner was the one to give out some advice to his peer.
“Just understand the league, it’s different from Italy and less tactical but every time it’s a battle. You never know when you start what the result will be because anything could happen in the Premier League. The last 10 minutes are the more important,” added Ranieri.