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Roman-born Ranieri takes charge of AS Roma

AS Roma needs a "jolt" to snap its poor early season form and return to its place as a Serie A contender, Claudio Ranieri said yesterday at his introduction as the club's coach.

Ranieri agreed to a two-year contract worth €6 million (US$8.6 million) Tuesday after Luciano Spalletti resigned following two losses to open the Italian season.

"Spalletti's Roma had a sparkling sense of play. My philosophy is a little different - I'm bringing my pragmatism to this team," Ranieri said after a long team meeting and directing his first training session.

"What's really needed is a jolt, because this team has to make a turnaround right away. Maybe the guys lost a little bit of belief."

Roma lost to Genoa 3-2 in its first game of the new season and was beaten by Juventus 3-1 Sunday.

Ranieri signed a contract worth €2.3 million (US$3.3 million for the rest of this season and €3.7 million (US$5.3 million) for 2010-2011, plus incentives, Roma said in a statement.

Roma president Rosella Sensi said she was surprised by Spalletti's resignation.

"I respect Spalletti but I didn't expect him to abandon the ship," Sensi said. "He made his choices and I suppose he had his reasons."

Roma was runner-up in Serie A in Spalletti's first three seasons, but the Giallorossi finished sixth last season and out of the Champions League places.

"In the last four years, this team did some great things, displaying some of the best football in Europe. Fifteen months ago this team was a half hour from winning the Serie A title," the Roman-born Ranieri said. "As a Roman, watching them play filled me with pride. I can tell you that I'm coming home with a great desire to do well."

Ranieri began his playing career with Roma, but only played six games for the club in 1973-74. He spent most of his playing career with Catanzaro, Catania and Palermo in southern Italy.

As a coach, Ranieri has led Fiorentina, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Parma. He was fired by Juventus with two games remaining last season.

Struggling financially, Roma has been unable to make many big acquisitions in recent seasons, and the club is still largely dependent on captain Francesco Totti, who turns 33 later this month.

Upon her arrival at the team's training center, Sensi was greeted by graffiti scrawled on walls calling for her departure.

"We certainly didn't meet all of the objectives we set forth for and I know we haven't met the fans' expectations," Sensi said. "My words are not going to make anyone happy. We did take back some younger players and I think our squad is competitive. We didn't take apart the team, the structure is still there, although I can understand the fans' disappointment."


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