Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Leicester City, nine months after leading them to the Premier League title, BBC Sport reports.
The Foxes are one point above the relegation zone with 13 matches left.
“The board reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club’s greatest interest,” read a statement.
– Leicester City Football Club announces the departure of Claudio Ranieri
– Ranieri has served as First Team Manager since July 2015
– City won the Premier League title in Ranieri’s first season as manager
– Vice Chairman pays tribute, but explains the need to serve the Club’s long-term interests
– Craig Shakespeare and Mike Stowell to assume interim First Team responsibilities
Leicester City Football Club has tonight (Thursday) parted company with its First Team Manager, Claudio Ranieri.
Claudio, appointed City manager in July 2015, led the Foxes to the greatest triumph in the Club’s 133-year history last season, as we were crowned champions of England for the first time. His status as the most successful Leicester City manager of all time is without question.
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 interest.
Vice Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: “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.”
First Team preparations for Monday’s Premier League fixture against Liverpool will resume on Saturday, with Assistant Manager Craig Shakespeare and First Team Coach Mike Stowell taking charge of the squad until a new manager is appointed.
Assistant Manager and First Team Coach Paolo Benetti and First Team Sport Science and Conditioning Coach Andrea Azzalin have also parted company with the Club and leave with our thanks for their service and best wishes for the future.
The Board will now begin the recruitment process and will make no further comment until that process is completed.