Claudio Ranieri sacked: 'Unforgivable' decision to part company with Leicester manager condemned by Gary Lineker

The east Midlands club's owners claimed that 'a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club's greatest interest'

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The Independent Football

Gary Lineker has condemned Leicester City’s decision to sack Claudio Ranieri as “inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad”.

Ranieri, who led the relegation-tipped club to a remarkable Premier League title victory last season just nine months ago, was relieved of his duties on Thursday night.

The Italian’s departure was confirmed in a statement on the club’s official website, which claimed that “a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club’s greatest interest.”

Leicester currently sit one point above the Premier League’s relegation zone and seem destined to be involved in a battle against the drop in the season’s closing months.

Lineker, the former Leicester striker and the club’s most high-profile supporter, took to Twitter to lambaste the decision to part company with Ranieri.

He tweeted: “After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad.”

Ranieri, who was named FIFA’s Coach of the Year just last month, signed a new four-year contract with Leicester last August.

His departure comes just a day after his side's creditable 2-1 away defeat in their Champions League last-16 first leg against Sevilla.

“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,” said Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, the club’s vice-chairman, in a statement.

“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,” he added.

Roberto Mancini, Alan Pardew and former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson are among the early favourites to replace Ranieri at the King Power Stadium.