This season, the soccer world has said goodbye to several legendary players and coaches. However, one departure has had more emotional weight than any other.

Claudio Ranieri, the revered Italian coach, announced on Tuesday that he is resigning from his remaining year with Cagliari and entering retirement. This decision marks the end of a journey that began in 1986; it spanned over four decades, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

After deciding to retire, Ranieri will lead Cagliari for one last time in his managerial career, according to Sky Italia. Last season, the Italian coach joined the club and guided them to promotion from Serie B. He had one year left on his contract after managing Cagliari from 1988 to 1991.

“Mister Ranieri bids farewell to Cagliari. In his two spells with the club, he always managed to lead the team to achieve their original objective”, the club confirmed. “These are tears of joy and gratitude for the man who was able to write some of the most beautiful scripts in Cagliari’s history. What he did will remain indelible in the hearts of every supporter.”

What did Ranieri say?

The 72-year-old’s managerial career began in earnest in 1986. Just two years later, he took charge of the Sardinians for his first spell. Reflecting on his time with the club, he reminisced about the early years filled with triumphs and challenges.

“We lived three wonderful years; then, there were two promotions, a salvation and, then, I left. I grew a lot and it seemed the right thing to do after the promotion, which perhaps we didn’t expect to be so immediate when I arrived in January 1988”, Ranieri shared in a heartfelt video.

His poignant memories of Pavoletti’s crucial goal in the 94th minute encapsulate the passion and drama that characterized his tenure. The experienced Ranieri then explained his retirement to leave now, despite having another year left on his contract.

“But I decided it’s the right thing to leave now. I had three years on my contract, but it’s the right thing to leave now. I’m leaving with a heavy heart because it’s hard, it’s a painful decision, but I think it’s the right thing to do,” he admitted.

Ranieri leaves an unmatched legacy upon retirement

The impressive list of accomplishments that Claudio Ranieri can claim spans a wide range of leagues and nations. His most lauded achievement was perhaps guiding Leicester City to an unbelievable Premier League crown in 2016, which won the hearts of soccer fans all around the globe.

His leadership helped the Foxes overcome insurmountable obstacles and cement their position in history. As a remarkable example of the lasting impact of his influence, Leicester City were able to regain their place in the top division only this season after being relegated last year.

He also has great success as a manager in Spain, leading Valencia and Atletico Madrid to trophies. He has three major cup victories with Valencia: the 1999 Copa del Rey, the 1998 Intertoto Cup, and the 2014 European Super Cup.

Additionally successful was his tenure in Italy, during which Fiorentina won the Supercoppa Italiana and the Coppa Italia in 1996. With these honors including his 2016 FIFA Football Award for Greatest Coach in the World, his influence on the sport is undeniable.