Ranieri - English richer, not better
Claudio Ranieri claims Serie A clubs only feel inferior to Premier League teams financially.
Last Updated: 09/03/09 8:44pm
Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri claims Serie A clubs only feel inferior to their Premier League rivals when it comes to finances.
Ranieri takes his current club into battle against his former employers in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 clash on Tuesday night.
Didier Drogba's solitary strike in the first leg at Stamford Bridge has given Chelsea the edge going into the conclusion of the tie.
But Ranieri, who knows all about the riches on offer in the Premier League having spent millions of Roman Abramovich's fortune during his tenure in West London, claims the tie holds no fears.
He said: "There's no inferiority complex in Italy, maybe there's an inferiority complex in terms of money.
"That's the only one there is and that's not really a complex, just a circumstance."
Ranieri believes Chelsea are back to their best under new boss Guus Hiddink, and concurred with midfielder Michael Ballack's assessment that the Blues have regained their fighting spirit in recent weeks.
"It's true, this (fighting spirit) is one part of the quality of the Chelsea players, while there are also their qualities as individual players," he said.
"Chelsea are back and with the great investments they have made they have a great fighting machine."
Juve captain Alessandro Del Piero believes there has been a marked power shift towards English football in recent years, but that is not just due to financial factors.
He said: "Over the last few years there has been a profound change in English football.
"There has been a great investment, not just economically but also in the quality of players and coaches with many foreigners coming into the game.
"This has given them the ability to mix the typical English qualities with those of the other leagues around Europe so they have been able to improve a lot.
"Before they were strong in specific areas but now they are strong in almost all areas."