Masterminding one of the greatest upsets in sporting history wasn’t enough for Claudio Ranieri to keep his job at Leicester.
Ranieri was fired by Leicester on Thursday, nine months after the 65-year-old Italian manager guided the club to the English Premier League title at preseason odds of 5,000-1.
Leicester’s Thai owners took the drastic measure with soccer’s ultimate fairytale threatening to have an unhappy ending. In a dreadful title defence, the team is one point and one place above the relegation zone and in serious danger of losing its status in the world’s most lucrative league.
“We are duty-bound to put the club’s long-term interests above all sense of personal sentiment,” Leicester vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said, “no matter how strong that might be.”
On current form, Leicester is heading for relegation with 13 games left. It hasn’t scored a goal in six league games in 2017 and has won one of its last 10 games in the league.
The team was eliminated from the FA Cup last weekend by third-tier team Millwall, which won 1-0 despite playing most of the second half with 10 players.
“His status as the most successful Leicester City manager of all time is without question,” a long club statement said of Ranieri.
“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…