sport

Monaco play down Ranieri talk

Monaco vice-chairman Vadim Vasilyev has played down reports suggesting that manager Claudio Ranieri could be set to depart the club.

The 62-year-old took charge of the Ligue 1 side in 2012 and led them to a top-flight return in his debut campaign in France.

This season, Ranieri has seen his Monaco side mount a title challenge as they currently occupy second place in the table, with leaders PSG seven points clear.

The former Chelsea boss has one more year remaining on his current deal in France, but his future is uncertain following claims that he could be replaced in the summer, with Zinedine Zidane among the names linked to the job.

However, Vasilyev was reluctant to further fuel the talk of an exit and says that he would prefer footballing matters to take precedence.

"All those rumours and speculation... Anyway, Claudio still has one year remaining on his contract and it is not the right moment to talk about that," he told the French media.

"We have to remain focused on the club's objectives. It is not only the case for Claudio who has achieved a great job at Monaco."

Vasilyev also took the same stance regarding his playing staff, with Dimitar Berbatov among those out of contract at the end of the season.

"Everyone is also asking me about the future of Berbatov etc. It is the same for all the other players, I am asked if some will leave or stay. It is not the right moment for all that," he said.