Chelsea reach settlement with Ranieri

Chelsea finally brought the Claudio Ranieri era to a close yesterday when they reached a settlement over their former manager's departure which they described as "amicable".

Chelsea finally brought the Claudio Ranieri era to a close yesterday when they reached a settlement over their former manager's departure which they described as "amicable".

The Italian was replaced by Jose Mourinho despite having three years left on his contract. The terms of the agreement are confidential but a club spokesman said: "We have fully honoured the terms of Claudio's contract and we wish him good luck for the future. Our discussions with Claudio regarding the terms of his departure were at all times amicable. We are pleased we have been able to agree this so promptly."

Ranieri said: "I am grateful for Chelsea's help in bringing this settlement to a swift conclusion and allowing me to take the next step in my managerial career. I would like to thank the players and the fans for their support and wish them good fortune for next season."

A full settlement would have meant a pay-out of around £6m, and Bruce Buck, the chairman of Chelsea Village, added: "We have been talking with [Ranieri's] representatives during the week and today we have signed a settlement agreement and honoured his contract in full, just as we said we would."

Asked about speculation linking the Porto full-back Paulo Ferreira with a move to Chelsea, Buck said: "There is nothing we can reveal at this point. When it is appropriate to make comment we will."

Chelsea have blocked Joe Cole from leaving Stamford Bridge on loan next season. The England player is wanted by Everton, among others, and his place was reported to be under threat with the arrival of Mourinho. However, Chelsea have told interested parties that the midfielder is staying because Mourinho wants to see him play.

Cole had been through a frustrating campaign under Ranieri but he will have the chance to shine for the new manager.

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