Claudio Ranieri statement: Yesterday my dream died, says former Leicester City manager
'I dreamt of was staying with Leicester City, the club I love, for always.'
Former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has said his dream has died following his sacking.
"Yesterday my dream died," Ranieri said in an official statement.
Leicester City Supporters' Club chairman Cliff Ginnetta has called Ranieri's sacking "shameful and embarrassing".
The Foxes axed the Italian on Thursday just nine months after winning a shock Premier League title.
Claudio Ranieri statement in full
Yesterday my dream died.
After the euphoria of last season and being crowned Premier League champions all I dreamt of was staying with Leicester City, the club I love, for always.
Sadly this was not to be.
I wish to thank my wife Rosanna and all my family for their never ending support during my time at Leicester. My thanks go to Paolo and Andrea who accompanied me on this wonderful journey. To Steve Kutner and Franco Granello (Ranieri's Italian agent) for bringing me the opportunity to become a champion.
Mostly I have to thank Leicester City Football Club. The adventure was amazing and will live with me forever.
Thank you to all the journalists and the media who came with us and enjoyed reporting on the greatest story in football.
My heartfelt thanks to everybody at the club, all the players, the staff, everybody who was there and was part of what we achieved. But mostly to the supporters. You took me into your hearts from day one and loved me. I love you too. No one can ever take away what we together have achieved, and I hope you think about it and smile every day the way I always will.
It was a time of wonderfulness and happiness that I will never forget. It's been a pleasure and an honour to be a champion with all of you.
- Claudio Ranieri
Ranieri only signed a four-year deal in August after their success last season but leaves with the club a point above the relegation zone ahead of Monday's visit of Liverpool, with assistant manager Craig Shakespeare in caretaker charge.
The Italian went after Wednesday's 2-1 last-16 Champions League defeat at Sevilla, with Leicester having also lost their last five league games.
However, Ginnetta believes Ranieri should have stayed.
"It's shameful and embarrassing. All the years I've followed Leicester City, it's one of the most embarrassing things that's ever happened," he told Press Association Sport.
"I thought they'd give him the season and then reappraise it. Definitely after Sevilla when, in the second half we looked okay. I don't know why the big panic, especially now. The guy is loved by supporters and they are devastated.
"They had to give him the rest of the season."
Several stars, including Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Drinkwater, all signed new contracts in the summer but Ginnetta felt they had let Ranieri down.
"The whole thing seems to be down to player power," he said. " If I was the chairman and I was paying players £100,000-a-week and they weren't performing it's the players I'd be targeting more than the manager.
"I know you pay the manager to help them play but it's not his responsibility to give them that money and a £100,000 car each. I hate to say it but it seems to have gone to their heads.
"When you see Drinkwater, Vardy and Mahrez playing like they are I'd want to know why that's happening. All this 'the buck stops with the manager' is wrong, I'd want to speak to the players directly."
Ex-Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, who spent time on loan at Leicester in 2001, is the early favourite to replace Ranieri, with ex-boss Nigel Pearson also tipped for a third spell and Huddersfield boss David Wagner listed.
"It's going to be difficult, you need someone with European experience. There's no English manager who has the experience to do the job," said Ginnetta.