Few matters in football have created as much sensationalism as Leicester City’s sacking of Claudio Ranieri, whose fall from grace came abruptly only nine months after he led the team to a Premier League title in what was considered a football miracle.
It was only two weeks ago that Leicester offered “unwavering support” for Ranieri in a statement that claimed that his position as Manager was in no way at danger. In a sudden act of deception, the club’s owners were quick to decide that Ranieri was no longer entitled to their patience because a team that were only a short time ago winners of the season are now a disastrous one point away from the relegation zone.
“This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years,” the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said in a statement about the news, “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.”
Still, the football community continue to reel from the decision after all that Ranieri has achieved for the club during his tenure. Only six weeks ago, Ranieri was named Fifa’s coach of the year but since then the team have seen a decline similar to that of Man City who were relegated the year after winning the league as far back as 1938. The statement given by the club makes it clear that it is their belief that this would be the case if Ranieri remained, claiming that “[Ranieri’s] status as the most successful Leicester City manager of all time is without question. However, domestic results have placed the club’s Premier League status under threat and the board reluctantly feels a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club’s greatest interest.”
Mourinho, who was sacked from Chelsea under similar circumstances, was one of many to play tribute to Ranieri on Thursday night, stating on Instagram “Champion of England and Fifa manager of the year, sacked. That’s the new football, Claudio. Keep smiling amico. Nobody can delete the history you wrote.” As a team that is close to his heart, Gary Lineker claimed that he quite literally shed a tear at the news and wrote “The lack of gratitude from the owners of the club and who knows who else involved in such a decision beggars belief.”
Italian newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, summed up the mood of his native country and reacted with shock and dismay, leading with the headline ‘Ungrateful English’ paired with a picture that showed a downcast Ranieri alongside one of him preparing to lift the Premier League trophy at the end of last season. They also added ‘Leicester City have spoiled the fairytale that had enchanted the world’ and have tipped Roberto Mancini to take on the role. Mancini had a brief spell at Leicester while on loan back in 2001. Until a new manager is appointed, assistant manager Craig Shakespeare alongside the first-team coach Mike Stowell, will take charge of the team.
Fans on Twitter were quick to react to the news, stating that the club’s actions are unfathomable and incredibly shameful as they struggle to comprehend why Ranieri has been sacked:
This is disrespect from Leicester sacking their best manager ever. Even he has more Premier League titles than Gerrard #ClaudioRanieri
— Hamza Khan (@hamzakhn46) February 23, 2017
— Rik Moran (@TheRikMoran) February 24, 2017
Sacking of #ClaudioRanieri sums up the fickleness of modern football. Loyalty is becoming extinct. Sad stuff.
— Fuad Alakbarov (@DrAlakbarov) February 24, 2017