The galvanic Italian was replaced by José Mourinho eleven years ago, despite finishing second and reaching the semi-final of the Champions League, and is now masterminding an invincible campaign of his own at Leicester City.
His new club are the only unbeaten team remaining in the top flight after coming back from losing positions in their last four league matches, notably overturning a two-goal deficit in 17 minutes to defeat Aston Villa a fortnight ago.
But Ranieri has been taken aback by Arsene Wenger’s failure to add another title to his CV in the decade which followed the 63-year-old's dismissal by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.
“When I was at Chelsea, they were the 'invincibles',” he said. “That was an unbelievable achievement, so it is surprising they have not won the league since.
“Arsene is a good manager and he chooses good players every time. Maybe it is not easy to play without [Thierry] Henry, [Dennis] Bergkamp, [Freddie] Ljungberg and all the defenders he had.
“They are ready, but of course, to win a title you also need to be a little lucky. They are ready. Chelsea as well, even now they can win. Manchester City are running ahead but the league is very long.”
The Leicester manager’s only victory over Wenger came amid rumours that Sven-Göran Eriksson, then in charge of England, would replace him as Chelsea boss courtesy of a late Wayne Bridge winner at Highbury in the Champions League quarter-final second leg in 2004.
Spells with Valencia, Parma, Juventus, Roma, Internazionale and Monaco then followed before a tenure as disastrous as it was short-lived with the Greece national side in 2014 saw his reputation tarnished.
However, Ranieri, whose list of critics dwindles with every passing week, is hesitant to boast about the fact that his high-flying Foxes are sat one place above Arsenal in the Premier League table.
“For us it is important to try and stay there and maintain this start,” he added. “Our fans can dream but we have to stay very calm and work hard because a defeat is around the corner.”Reuse content