Leicester City have sacked their manager Claudio Ranieri nine months after securing a remarkable and historic Premier League title under the Italian's management.
With just five league wins to their name this season, the English champions currently sit one point above the relegation zone with their title defence in tatters.
The decision to sack Ranieri follows Leicester's 2-1 defeat by Sevilla on Wednesday night and comes in spite of the recent declaration that the Italian had the "unwavering support" of the club's Thai owners.
After reports of his dismissal on Thursday night, Leicester confirmed that they had "parted company" with the 65-year-old, calling the decision "painful" but "necessary".
A statement released on the club website read: "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.'"
Leicester have struggled to deliver under Ranieri this season following their remarkable title-winning campaign last term.
The Foxes are yet to score a goal in the Premier League in 2017 and have picked up just one point from a possible 18.
After defeat by Swansea in a crunch clash earlier this month, the side were then ignominiously dumped out of the FA Cup by League One side Millwall.
The East Midlands side subsequently turned to the Champions League and their last-16 clash with Sevilla, but their poor run of form continued as they succumbed to a 2-1 loss.
Despite their dismal domestic form, Leicester had initially declared their support for the manager following reports of changing room unrest and player dissatisfaction with the Italian's methods.
In a statement released earlier this month, the club said: "Leicester City would like to make absolutely clear its unwavering support for Claudio Ranieri.
"While there is a collective appreciation from everyone at the Club that recent form needs to improve, the unprecedented success achieved in recent seasons has been based firmly on stability, togetherness and determination to overcome even the greatest of challenges.
"The entire club is and will remain united behind its manager and behind its players, collectively and firmly focused on the challenges ahead."
In the build-up to Wednesday's Champions League defeat, Ranieri reaffirmed his commitment to the club, suggesting that he could have left Leicester in the summer but decided to stay put.
He said: "I could leave last season, I won the title and I had something with other teams but I wanted to stay here because I knew it was a difficult year.
"I came here to build, to build something good for Leicester, for everybody. I keep going, I maintain my mind in this way. I forget the title and I want to achieve something good for the fans, chairman and the city."
Ranieri's dismissal comes just 292 days after he lifted the Premier League trophy at the King Power Stadium in May following victory over Everton.
The club have confirmed assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and first team coach Mike Stowell will take preparations after Ranieri's coaching staff were also sacked.
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