Claudio Ranieri has paid a touching tribute to Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, whose tragic death has left him “terribly shaken”.
The Thai businessman was leaving the ground following Leicester’s 1-1 draw against West Ham United in a private helicopter when it crashed in the arena’s car park and killed five people.
Leicestershire Police’s website named two members of Srivaddhanaprabha’s staff – Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and passenger Izabela Roza Lechowicz as those who have also lost their lives.
Ranieri was hired by Srivaddhanaprabha in 2015 and went on to guide the Foxes to an unprecedented fairytale Premier League victory in his first season in charge.
The Italian spoke glowingly of his former boss, describing him as an “illuminated man” and urging his son, Aiyawatt, to do his father proud.
“I was terribly shaken by the news,” he told Sky Sports Italia on Monday.
“He was a good man and always had a positive word for everyone.
“His positivity and ability to make everybody love him was clear for all to see. He came into the dressing room only to dispense kind words, never to reproach you.
“One time soon after my birthday, he arrived in the dressing room with a huge cake and made everyone sing ‘Happy Birthday.’
“He was an illuminated man and everything he touched became better. Now it’s up to his son, who has always been in love with football, to carry on in his father’s footsteps.”
Ranieri praised the role Srivaddhanaprabha had in that incredible title win against all the odds, revealing just how involved he would be prior to games.
“I remember when we first met that I immediately thought he was a positive person, full of energy. My objective when I arrived at Leicester was to secure Premier League safety, then we all know what happened.
“Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha made a very important contribution to the Premier League victory, as he’d arrive 30 minutes before the game to embrace everyone. He never said a word out of turn, was always happy with a smile on his face.
“I am so sad right now, I want to join the family in their grief.”