Back in 2015, when Leicester decided to appoint Claudio Ranieri as manager, some were more disappointed than amazed, but the Italian made them eat their words a year after leading the team to its first ever Premier League triumph.
However, the story doesn’t have a pleasant end to it, as Leicester has sacked Ranieri nine months after he led the team to victory. Were the Foxes right to sack the manager? A difference of opinion is to be expected, but looking at current trends, the decision is justified and not all that surprising.
CRAZY: Claudio Ranieri's time at Leicester City. 😳 pic.twitter.com/JXC6yUyMdj
— SPORF (@Sporf) February 23, 2017
Leicester is a point ahead of the relegation zone with 13 matches to go. This has been the worst title defense in history. Last season, Leicester was brilliant to say the least, as they managed to knock everyone out, but the Foxes were too lazy to pick themselves up as they started the season with a defeat on the opening day. However, they have been brilliant in the UEFA Champions League and held the pole position in their group. On Wednesday, they played their first “Round of 16” match against Sevilla and managed to stun everyone with their performance against the Spanish team.
Unfortunately, this couldn’t help Ranieri justify his position, and the board decided to end his reign. The derail in performance brought the 65-year-old under strict scrutiny, and the board was unhappy with the way team performed especially after putting up such a remarkable performance last season.
"After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad," said former Foxes striker Gary Lineker.
Claudio Ranieri? Sacked? Really? Dilly Ding Dilly Game's Gone.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 23, 2017
His unusual methods helped the team claim the Premier League title for the first time in 133-years. It was quite shocking to see Ranieri being sacked, especially since the decision came 16 days after the club released a statement showing unwilling support to Ranieri.
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 skillful management, powers of motivation and measured approach have been reflective of the rich experience we always knew he would bring to Leicester City.”
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) February 24, 2017
The club has yet to finalize Ranieri’s successor at the club, someone who could prevent further embarrassment. The Foxes have lost their last five Premier League games and are the only team in the league to win in 2017. The Foxes will host Liverpool at the King Power Stadium next Monday and assistant, Craig Shakespeare, and coach, Mike Stowell will take charge of the first team temporarily.
Despite receiving FIFA Manager of the Year of 2016 award, sacking Ranieri was on the cards but isn’t it too early? Especially after the side showcased an impressive show against Sevilla and a Quarter Final Place in the Champions League is still open.
Will the new manager be able to cope up with the challenges or will he follow the bandwagon?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.