Claudio Ranieri's first game as Sampdoria coach will be against former club Roma. — AFP Photo
MILAN — Claudio Ranieri said Tuesday he had come to rescue demoralised Italian basement club Sampdoria, who are reeling at the foot of Serie A after a disastrous start to the season.
The Genoa club are last in the table — 16 points behind leaders Juventus — with just one win in seven games.
"Fairy tales are a sign of a job done very well," said Ranieri, who memorably guided outsiders Leicester City to the 2016 English Premier League title.
"I believe that we must make the fans dream.
"We are last, but this is not the real value of this team. First we need to restore self-esteem.
"When you are last, you lose security and self-confidence," Ranieri told a press conference in the western Italian port city.
"I'm here with the goal of saving the team."
Sampdoria won their only Serie A title in 1991 and were runners-up the following year in the European Cup to Barcelona.
They finished ninth last season, with Eusebio Di Francesco taking over as coach after Marco Giampaolo left for AC Milan.
Ranieri takes over from Di Francesco for the second time in seven months having replaced the former Roma boss at the capital side last March.
Ranieri's vast coaching experience includes spells at Chelsea, Valencia, Monaco, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Juventus and Napoli.
Before taking over at Roma he had spent 106 days as coach of Fulham before being sacked with the English club going on to be relegated from the Premier League.
"Sampdoria are not Fulham," insisted Ranieri.
"Fulham were a newly-promoted club with players who had never been in the Premier League.
"This is totally different. Sampdoria have played good football and are struggling, so now need the desire to fight hard."
Ranieri's first game in charge will be against Roma on October 20, which will also be his 68th birthday.
"Starting with the Giallorossi (Roma) is not a twist of fate, I'm happy to start like this," he said.
"I am a Roma fan, but on the field there is no love, only professionalism."
Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero said Ranieri was a coach he had long been interested in signing.
"We looked at Ranieri several years ago, but right now the stars have aligned. We are two Romans who want what is best for Sampdoria." — AFP