Premier League champions Leicester City have sacked manager Claudio Ranieri, 297 days after guiding the Foxes to an unprecedented title.
The Italian, who was appointed by the club with the goal of beating relegation, defied 5000/1 odds by guiding Leicester to the title.
The same team albeit without one of the stars of last season, Ngolo Kante, have failed to replicate half of the form that saw them win the hearts of people around the world as Leicester City 17th in the Premier League, one point above the relegation zone.
In a statement released by the club, Leicester City vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha described Claudio Ranieri as “the most successful Leicester City manager of all-time”.
“This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make.. But we are duty-bound to put the club’s long-term interests above all sense of personal sentiment, no matter how strong that might be.”
“Claudio has brought outstanding qualities to his office. His skillful management, powers of motivation and measured approach have been reflective of the rich experience we always knew he would bring to Leicester City. His warmth, charm and charisma have helped transform perceptions of the club and develop its profile on a global scale. We will forever be grateful to him for what he has helped us to achieve.”
The statement went on to say that it was never the club’s ”expectation that the extraordinary feats of last season should be replicated this season.” The club’s survival in English’s top flight was the first and only target at the start of the campaign. But since they are now faced with a fight to reach that objective, they felt a change was necessary to reach that goal.
The sacking of Claudio Ranieri has not gone down well with the public, ex-players and the Italian media who have labeled Leicester City players and club’s hierarchy as ”ungrateful” for sacking the man who gave them their greatest moment.
Gazzetta dello Sport said:
”Ranieri lost a team, but Leicester directors lost much more: a chance to remain Never Never Land.”
Former Leicester striker Gary Lineker said:
”I shed a tear last night – I shed a tear for Claudio, I shed a tear for football and I shed a tear for my club. It is inexplicable to me, it’s inexplicable to a lot of football fans who love the game and I suppose you can explain it in terms of a panic decision and for me a wrong decision and it is very sad.”
Gary Lineker went on to say he would understand if the decision to sack a premier league winning manager a few months after winning the trophy happened with one of the clubs who expect to win titles and spend enough money pursuing it.
”But for a club like Leicester to win the league last season and the magnificence of that story and the likeability of the club, especially under Claudio Ranieri, the ultimate gentleman, it kind of demeans the club, it takes away from the glory of last season,” he added.
Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, who got sacked by Chelsea last season after steering them to the title, sent a message of support to his former rival.
“CHAMPION OF ENGLAND and FIFA MANAGER of THE YEAR️ Sacked,” wrote Mourinho on Instagram along with a photo of the two.
“That’s the new football, Claudio. Keep smiling AMICO. Nobody can delete the history you wrote.”
Leicester City Football Club are now faced with the danger of becoming only the second English champions to see their title defence end in relegation. The fall from grace story befell Manchester City in 1938.
Possible replacements of Ranieri have been listed as Roberto Mancini, Alan Pardew, Guus Hiddink, Harry Redknapp and former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson.