Claudio Ranieri sacked as Leicester City manager nine months after winning Premier League title
Last season’s fairytale Premier League champions are now on the verge of falling apart. The Foxes are one point above the relegation zone with 13 matches left. Now Claudio Ranieri, the manager who led Leicester City to one of the more implausible success stories in history, has been sacked only nine months after taking a team of 5,000-1 outsiders to the Premier League title and a football miracle.
The 2-0 defeat against Swansea on 12 February and then a 2-1 defeat against Sevilla in the Champions League Round of 16 is thought to have seriously alarmed the club hierarchy and forced a swift rethink.
The decision to sack Ranieri comes in spite of the recent declaration that the Italian had the “unwavering support” of the club’s Thai owners.
A statement released on the club website read, “Claudio, appointed City manager in July 2015, led the Foxes to the greatest triumph in the Club’s 133-year history last season, as we were crowned champions of England for the first time. His status as the most successful Leicester City manager of all time is without question.”
“However, domestic results in the current campaign have placed the Club’s Premier League status under threat and the Board reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the Club’s greatest interest.”
Ranieri had come under pressure following Leicester’s amazing title success, with the team battling relegation amid media reports suggesting he had lost the dressing room. The likes of striker Jamie Vardy and playmaker Riyad Mahrez have misfired in a stuttering title defence. the Daily Telegraph revealed earlier this month that Ranieri’s methods have been confusing and angering the players who in the last season lifted the title for some time.
Gary Lineker, the former Leicester striker, tweeted shortly after the decision: “After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad.”
Vice Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: “This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City.”
José Mourinho, who was also sacked the season after leading Chelsea to the title, was one of several to pay tribute to Ranieri on Thursday night. “Champion of England and Fifa manager of the year,” he wrote on Instagram. “Sacked. That’s the new football, Claudio. Keep smiling amico. Nobody can delete the history you wrote.”
The club have confirmed assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and first team coach Mike Stowell will take preparations after Ranieri’s coaching staff were also sacked.