Ranieri lined-up as Roma sack Di Francesco after Champions League flop

Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked by Roma last March (AFP/File)

Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked as Roma coach after the team crashed out of the Champions League, the Italian club confirmed on Thursday, with former boss Claudio Ranieri tipped to replace him. Roma had taken a 2-1 advantage to Porto for the second leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday but fell 4-3 on aggregate after a controversial VAR-awarded penalty deep into extra time. "AS Roma can confirm head coach Eusebio Di Francesco has left the club with immediate effect," the team said in a statement. "The club would like to thank Eusebio for his work during his time at AS Roma and wish him success in the future." An urgent meeting had been called on Thursday in Rome between the club's top officials to discuss Di Francesco's future. Club president Jim Pallotta later said: "On behalf of myself and everyone at AS Roma, I'd like to thank Eusebio for his work and his commitment. "Since returning to the club, Eusebio has always acted professionally and put the club?s needs ahead of his own. We all wish him well for the future." Roma are fifth in Serie A, three points off the Champions League berths for next season, after falling 3-0 last weekend to bitter city rivals Lazio. Di Francesco took over as Roma coach in June 2017. The 49-year-old had received the backing of the players after the defeat to Porto, having led Roma to the Champions League semi-finals last season for the first time since 1984. "I hope we'll continue with him," said captain Daniele De Rossi. "Di Francesco will remain the coach who took Roma to the Champions League semi-finals after who knows how many years and he deserves credit for that. I know this isn't our best season and the job of a coach will always be tied to results." Former Roma midfielder Di Francsco helped the team to their last Serie A title as a player in 2001. Ranieri, who memorably guided Leicester City to the 2016 Premier League title before being sacked the following season, coached Roma from September 2009 and February 2011. The 67-year-old Italian's brief spell as manager of Premier League strugglers Fulham ended last month after only four months in charge. Eusebio Di Francesco took over as Roma coach in June 2017