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Juve Fire Ranieri

Juventus have dismissed Claudio Ranieri and replaced him with their former defender Ciro Ferrara with the Bianconeri in danger of missing out on automatic qualification for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Ranieri’s deal was due to expire in June 2010 but the club decided to sever all ties with the 57-year-old after Sunday’s 2-2 home draw with Atalanta BC – Juve’s seventh league game without a win – left them just a point clear of fourth-placed ACF Fiorentina with two matches remaining. Ferrara, who made 253 league appearances in an eleven-year spell with the Turin club, will take charge of this weekend’s match at AC Siena and the visit of S.S. Lazio on the final day of the season.

Formerly in charge of Valencia CF and Chelsea FC, Ranieri took charge of Juventus in summer 2007, guiding them to a third-place finish on their return to Serie A. “Juventus announce that Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as manager. From today the first team has been entrusted to Ciro Ferrara,” a statement said, without confirming whether Ferrara was a short-term appointment.

“I have been working with Juve since 1994 and I have a great relationship with this club,” said Ferrara. “When I received the call, I was excited and had no doubts about accepting. I know the players very well and I think they just need to regain confidence. I don’t know if I will be the coach next season. If the club hire another coach in the summer, I will have no problem in making him space.”