'Inexplicable and unforgivable'. Football world condemns Leicester for sacking of Ranieri
Football world condemns Leicester for shock sacking of Ranieri
The sacking of Claudio Ranieri as Leicester City manager just nine months after guiding the unfashionable club to a sensational Premier League title stunned the football world yesterday and brought widespread condemnation on the owners.
The Thai owners axed the Italian barely two weeks after giving Ranieri "unwavering support", despite disastrous results that have left the team just one point above the relegation zone.
Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha said that the Foxes had "millions" of things to sort out if they were to "survive", and urged angry fans to respect the decision to dispense with Ranieri.
In his statement in broken English, which was published on the BBC Leicester Sport Twitter account, Srivaddhanaprabha said: "What you have seen is only some sides of the club which we can show to the public.
"We have done our best as a management. We do not have only one problem to solve, but there are millions thing to do to make our club survive.
"Please respect my decision. I will never let the club down."
Players, managers and commentators, however, expressed dismay at the move and nearly all backed Ranieri, who only last month was named Fifa's Coach of the Year for scripting one of the most unbelievable stories in football.
Former Leicester striker Gary Lineker said that the club's "inexplicable" decision to sack Ranieri reduced him to tears.
"After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad," the former England striker wrote on Twitter.
"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.
"What happened last season was extraordinary and the lack of gratitude from the owners of the club beggars belief."
Assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and Mike Stowell will take charge ahead of Tuesday morning's (Singapore time) match against Liverpool.
Ranieri made no immediate public comment, but The Sun said he felt betrayed by his players, notably England striker Jamie Vardy who played a key role in last season's title win.
Former Leicester and Arsenal striker Alan Smith said some of the blame should be taken by the Foxes, saying: "As always in these situations, the players have got to take a long, hard look at themselves.
"These are the same players he was picking last season."
Roberto Mancini, the favourite to replace Ranieri, expressed his sympathy for his compatriot.
"I am sorry for my friend #Ranieri. He will remain in the history of @LCFC, in the heart of #Leicester fans and all football lovers," Mancini said on Twitter.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho said Ranieri's dismissal was symptomatic of "the new football".
Mourinho experienced similar treatment to his fellow countryman at Chelsea.
He led the London club to the 2014-15 title, but was dismissed in December 2015 after a series of dreadful results and what was described as "palpable discord" with his players by technical director Michael Emenalo.
The Portuguese, who succeeded Ranieri at Stamford Bridge when his first spell at the club began in 2004, clearly sees the Italian's exit as further proof of how ruthless football has become at the highest level.
He posted a picture of himself and Ranieri smiling, and wrote on Instagram: "Champion of England and Fifa manager of the year. Sacked. That's the new football. Keep smiling amico. Nobody can delete the history you wrote." - WIRE SERVICES