“Nantes have already won eight titles and I am very honoured to be here. It is very important to be humble but to maintain the conviction that we can do something good,” added Ranieri, who said he is not scarred by his sacking from Leicester.“No. What I experienced there was fantastic. The love the people of Leicester showed towards me was incredible. Even more than winning the Premier League.“The motivation is still strong. If I continue to work as a coach, it is because my passion and love for football, for the players, is still there. I am very nervous when I am at home with my wife, I prefer to be here,” he joked.The Canaries finished seventh last season, their best showing since 2004. That was after Sergio Conceicao took over in December and lifted them up the table from the relegation zone.Conceicao signed a new contract at the end of the campaign only to jump ship when offered the chance to go back to his homeland and coach Portuguese giants Porto.Ranieri added: “The team played well, they were very compact, well organised. I am very curious to see what they can do with me.“To go from 19th place to seventh is fantastic. Sergio Conceicao did a great job with the players. I want to continue in that direction.“We are going to work very hard. I hope the supporters will be happy with them. Words are fine but the most important thing is what happens on the pitch.”Ranieri’s competitive debut on the Nantes bench will be away to Marcelo Bielsa’s Lille in early August.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Claudio Ranieri insists his incredible achievements at Leicester City count for nothing now that he has taken over at sleeping French giants Nantes, where he was unveiled as their new coach On Monday.“I have missed being out on the pitch. But we must forget what I did at Leicester. What we achieved there was unique. It is not the same here,” said the 65-year-old Italian at a press conference.Ranieri has signed a two-year contract with the Ligue 1 side to return to coaching for the first time since his sacking by Leicester in February.He was dismissed by the English club less than a year after leading them to a fairytale Premier League title triumph in 2016 and now returns to France, where he previously worked in charge at Monaco.Nantes are historically one of France’s most successful sides, but last won the title in 2001 and have often struggled in the years since.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error He still remains with the Lakers entering the final year of his contract and will make $19.3 million with another chance to prolong his stay with the franchise he loves.“If I perform well, am reliable and put up a great season, then I’m sure the Lakers will have interest in extending me maybe before the season is over,” Gasol said. “We’ll see if there’s interest or not. Then we’ll go from there.”The Lakers only have three players under contract beyond next season, including Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Nick Young. That leaves the Lakers with plenty of purchasing power to attract high-profile free agents, possibly including LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Of course, the Lakers also want to resign Kobe Bryant, whose $30.5 million contract expires after this season.In the interest of the Lakers maximizing their financial flexibility, would Gasol accept taking a significant paycut?“Probably not,” he said. “You have to explore your options, but I would like to continue to play for the Lakers and maybe finish my career here. But you have to see the cards on the table.”Gasol has become accustomed toward making sacrifices.Two years ago, former Lakers coach Mike Brown featured Gasol as a facilitator to accommodate Andrew Bynum’s growth in the post. The Lakers then shipped Bynum for Howard, but Gasol still became the odd man out. Last season, D’Antoni put Gasol, as he put it, “all over the place” for various reasons.To accommodate Howard’s limited mid-range game and to entice him to stay here, he played more in the post while Gasol became an outside shooter. He then lost his starting job in favor of Earl Clark because it matched D’Antoni’s preference for a smaller and quicker lineup.It also didn’t help that Gasol suffered a variety of ailments which sidelined him for a combined 33 games, including knee tendinitis (eight games), concussion (five games) and plantar fascia in his right foot (20 games).“Those are two seasons that have already passed that I already moved on from, learned from and experienced,” Gasol said. “I learned from everything just to deal with adversity. Not everything is going to go great. Not everything is going to be in the spot you want to be in and it won’t always be an ideal situation. But you just got to dig in and do your job and keep a positive mindset and attitude.”That’s why, with Howard ejected and Bryant on the sideline nursing an Achilles injury, Gasol received a rousing ovation from the Staples Center crowd in the final minutes of the Lakers’ Game 4 elimination loss to San Antonio last season.“It was an emotional moment for me,” Gasol said. “I was very banged up and I tried to give my best every single game. For me to walk off the court and have the fans give me the ovation and Kobe giving me the support and appreciation, it shows how much everything has meant to everyone.”Bryant provided even more support when he posted a picture of Instagram of him and Gasol shortly after Howard left via free agency this offseason for Houston.“We have a great bond and have been through so much together,” Gasol said of Bryant. “We’re the guys now who have been here the longest. That just shows the kind of support and relationship that we have. Out of relationship and the mutual respect that we have for each other, he believes that I should be used in a proper way so that it would be beneficial to the team because we’d always get positive results.”Gasol then spent his offseason both improving his health and clearing his mind.He treated the persisting pain in his knees by having a procedure in May that Gasol said involved a needle being inserted into each knee to emit ultrasound waves that cleaned up scar tissue. Six days later, Gasol said stem cells were taken from the back of his hip and injected into his knees to build healthy tissue. For only the third time of his 13-year NBA career, Gasol skipped playing for his native Spain in the FIBA European Championships.Gasol then participated in numerous projects.In his fifth trip as a UNCIEF ambassador, Gasol visited Syrian refugees in Iraq and helped with humanitarian efforts. Gasol became a spokesman for Madrid’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. He also completed a photography book that will be released sometime this fall.Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson made headlines with his recent memoir by comparing Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Lakers president Jeanie Buss updated her memoir with juicy excerpts detailing her frustration with the team’s front office when they chose D’Antoni over Jackson last season to coach the Lakers.What kind of juicy gossip will Gasol dish?“I’m not into that,” Gasol said, laughing. “I know that sells. But I’m not just trying to sell a book. I’m trying to inspire people and open up a little bit about my private life.”The Lakers believe Gasol will inspire on the court.After once trading Gasol to Houston before the NBA intervened, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said “he’s going to be an All-Star player” assuming he stays healthy. After changing Gasol’s role as a starter and as a post player throughout last season, D’Antoni described him multiple times during training camp as “the best center in the league” and believes the 33-year-old Gasol could play another five years.“I want to have a great year, personally and collectively,” Gasol said. “I’m just going to continue to work every day, stay focused, stay locked into what I have to do to make sure I do my part to be able to perform my best. Hopefully, I’ll be back in the All-Star team this year, but you have to earn that.”What will ensure Gasol earns that spot?“First, health. Second, performance. And third, team success,” Gasol said. “If I’m healthy and the team plays well, I’m confident in my ability and my skills in the way that I play that I will get another All-Star berth.”As Gasol has learned through six Lakers seasons filled with joy and frustration, not everything plays out according to script. Whatever he encounters this season, Gasol looks stronger, sounds more relaxed and appears more excited in taking on the challenge.“Sometimes things change because of the environment,” Gasol said. “You just adjust and that’s what I’ve been doing. The Lakers can rely on me to adjust because I’m versatile and I can work, absorb and adapt to things better than others. That’s why people count on me to assume that role.” “It’s refreshing to be able to play,” Gasol said.So as he sat by his locker stall following a recent preseason game, Gasol couldn’t help but crack a smile. He then showed off his biceps and triceps to a reporter standing nearby, the Lakers forward indicating he spent part of his offseason gaining lean body mass. With all team accounts suggesting Gasol will receive a bigger role this season, he wanted to get bigger, too.“I’m going to be a little more physical this year. Once I get in better shape, I’ll be able to do more, too,” Gasol said as part of a wide-ranging interview with this newspaper. “I did this knowing I’m going to be playing at center a lot more. I’m going to have to guard centers, protect the paint and box out.”Gasol has assumed a larger role before with the Lakers. He arrived here 5 1/2 years ago from Memphis in a multiplayer deal, including Kwame Brown, and immediately helped the Lakers appear in three consecutive NBA Finals. They won two titles, including one against the arch-rival Boston Celtics in 2010 after Gasol memorably posted 19 points and 18 rebounds in a Game 7 win.“It’s all fresh in my mind,” Gasol said, despite a changing landscape that contributed to him having career-lows last season in points (13.7), field-goal percentage (46.6 percent) and games played (49). LOS ANGELES >> Pau Gasol leaned back in his chair in a relaxed state that starkly contrasted the endless uncertainty that hovered over him for the past two seasons amid endless trade rumors and reduced roles.But as he has seen for the past two weeks of training camp, the barricades that once stood in Gasol’s way have since moved.Dwight Howard packed up his bags for Houston, leaving the post for Gasol to enjoy. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni catered his system so Gasol’s a featured center instead of a stretch forward on the perimeter who occasionally comes off the bench.The pain Gasol felt in his creaky knees through most of last year no longer exists, thanks to an offseason procedure. And at least for now, the persisting trade speculation that surrounded him since 2011 when NBA Commissioner David Stern stopped Chris Paul from becoming a Laker have faded.