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Claudio Ranieri sheds light on 'enthusiastic' Roman Abramovich's early days as Chelsea owner

Claudio Ranieri was the first manager to be a part of the 'Roman Empire' when Roman Abramovich took ownership of Chelsea in 2003. The Russian has been forced to sell the club after his ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin have led to him being sanctioned by the British government.

Now out of a job after he was sacked by Watford last month, Ranieri has spoken out about the situation and why Abramovich bought the club. He said:

"He [Abramovich] was young and enthusiastic. He was like a kid in the playground. He was very present. He came often to the games and sometimes traveled in his private plane after returning from a trip. He bought Chelsea because we had qualified for the Champions League on the last day of the championship, beating Liverpool. If we hadn't achieved that goal, the Blues' story would have been different."

The former Blues manager also went on to talk about the current situation at the football club. He said:

"Nobody should have cared in theory because at the time Putin was in the Russian presidency and the general situation was very different from the current one. This war, horrible like all wars, forces us to reflect."

"This issue raises some questions and I imagine there will be stricter rules on clubs than are in place, for example, in the Premier League."

What's next for Chelsea?

Many Chelsea fans can't remember a time without the Russian in charge and the success that he brought to the club. With the club up for sale and a lot of candidates willing to buy the Blues, fans will be getting a change whether they like it or not.

Multiple bids have come in for the London club in the last month. However, none of these suitors have been able to fulfill Mr. Abramovich's wishes. With the club still up for sale, fans are concerned about who the new owners will be.

The Stamford Bridge faithful will be wary of getting new American owners. They have seen the path that Arsenal and Manchester United are on after being bought by American businessmen.

The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs have emerged as potential buyers, a notion which many fans have turned their noses up to.