Nine months after engineering the greatest achievement in Premier League history, Claudio Ranieri finds himself without a club.
The Italian did the impossible by leading Leicester City to the title last season, but, with the Foxes sitting perilously close to the relegation zone, the club have made the decision to sack Ranieri.
The football world has been left in disbelief. Gary Lineker called it “inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad” on Twitter, while Piers Morgan went so far as to call it the “most disgraceful decision in the history of football”.
That, of course, might be a bit far. Leicester have lost seven of their past nine games in all competitions and, with their status as a Premier League club in jeopardy, something needed changing.
But to sack the person who was responsible for the most memorable season in the club’s history is shameful.
Ranieri had 13 games left to secure Leicester’s place in the top flight. Considering 14th-placed Bournemouth are just five points above them, it was hardly the tallest order.
And Jamie Vardy’s away goal in Wednesday’s defeat to Sevilla gave the Foxes a chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Now, it’s easy to imagine Ranieri’s replacement not giving next month’s return leg his full attention as the Foxes eye Premier League survival.
He'll be missed in England
Ranieri won’t be short of job offers if he decides to continue his managerial career. This season has been a disaster but nobody is forgetting the last campaign in a hurry.
It will certainly be a shame for the Premier League if the 65-year-old accepts a job outside of England. He’s such an amicable person.
One person who will certainly miss Ranieri is Jose Mourinho, the man who replaced the Italian as Chelsea manager in 2004.
Mourinho's classy message to Ranieri
Mourinho, now the manager of Manchester United, sent Ranieri a touching message on Instagram in the wake of his dismissal.
It reads: “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.”
Quality stuff from Jose.
You’ll be missed, Claudio.