Leicester have tonight announced the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri nine months after he guided the Foxes to the Premier League title.
Leicester have failed to replicate their fairytale form from last season and currently sit one point above the relegation zone. Ranieri was giving his marching orders after the team returned from Spain today following their 2-1 Last 16 first leg defeat to Sevilla.
The 65-year-old Italian has been adored by the fans since he took charge in the summer of 2015. His sense of fun and quirky sayings provided plenty of memorable moment during his time at Leicester.
“This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City,”said a statement from vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha. “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 skilful 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.
“It was never our expectation that the extraordinary feats of last season should be replicated this season. Indeed, survival in the Premier League was our first and only target at the start of the campaign. But we are now faced with a fight to reach that objective and feel a change is necessary to maximise the opportunity presented by the final 13 games.”
Preparations for Monday’s Premier League fixture against Liverpool will see assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and first team coach Mike Stowell taking charge of the squad until a new manager is appointed. Assistant manager Paolo Benetti has also left the club after Ranieri’s sacking.
“The board will now begin the recruitment process and will make no further comment until that process is completed,” the statement added.