In news that is both surprising and not-altogether unexpected, Claudio Ranieri has been relieved of his duties as manager at Leicester City.
The 65-year-old Italian manager, with extensive experience in Serie A and La Liga as well as a famous stint at Chelsea in the early aughts, led Leicester to a historic Premier League title win last season. Nine months after striking a huge blow against the entrenched establishment in English football, Leicester find themselves in dire straits. They’re one point above the relegation zone in the Premier League, they were bounced out of the FA Cup last weekend by lower-league opposition, and yesterday suffered a 2-1 loss to Sevilla in their first leg tie in the Champions League Round of 16.
Per the official club statement, Leicester Vice Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha felt that a change was needed to stop the bleeding.
”This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City. 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.”
Leicester’s next game is scheduled for Monday away at home against Liverpool. Assistant coaches Craig Shakespeare and Mike Stowell will be in charge for that fixture.