Ranieri left shocked by death of 'man of gold' Srivaddhanaprabha

Claudio Ranieri, who guided Leicester City to its famous 2016 Premier League title, has paid tribute to the club's former chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha hugs Claudio Ranieri during the latter's time as Leicester City coach.   -  Getty Images

Former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has described Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha as "a man of gold" following his death in a helicopter crash.

The Leicester owner and chairman was confirmed as one of five people to have died on Saturday when the aircraft came down just hours after the Premier League draw with West Ham at the King Power Stadium.

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Tributes have been sent in from across the football world, while hundreds of mourners have laid flowers outside the ground in the last 48 hours.

Srivaddhanaprabha's family laid a wreath on the pitch on Monday as the Leicester players and management gathered around the centre circle.

Ranieri, who guided Leicester to its famous Premier League title win of 2015-16, had nothing but fond memories of his former chairman.

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"The news shocked me tremendously," he told Sky Sport Italia. "He was a good person, a man of gold. He always had a word of comfort for everybody. "His positivity was contagious. He never focused on a negative result. When he came into the dressing room, he touched everyone with his smile.

"He was a father, he put everyone at ease. He was an enlightened man; everything he touched improved, and he knew how to choose his people.

"His son will follow in his father's footsteps. He's in love with football."

Ranieri left his position as Leicester boss last February following a tough run of results, which Srivaddhanaprabha described as "the most difficult decision" made since he took over the club in 2010.

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Looking back, Ranieri best remembers the moments of humanity shown by the man who appointed him in 2015. "If I close my eyes and think of him, I always see him with a smile on his lips, like the time when it was my birthday and he came in with a giant cake and sang 'happy birthday' together with the team," Ranieri said.

"It's hard for me to talk. I share in the pain of the family, because it's a very close family and now I just want to be close to them," he added.