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Jurgen Klopp is baffled by Leicester's decision to axe Claudio Ranieri

By Carl Markham

Jurgen Klopp has compared the sacking of Premier League winning manager Claudio Ranieri to Brexit and Donald Trump's election as US President. The Italian was shown the door at Leicester only nine months after masterminding one of sport's greatest stories and his departure has been met with shock and sadness.

The Foxes play their first match without Ranieri against Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday night.

Reds boss Klopp said: "What can I say? Am I surprised that things like this can happen? No. It is not only football.

"For me there have been a few strange decisions in 16/17: Brexit, Trump, Ranieri. Do I have to understand it all the time? Obviously not. I have no idea why Leicester did this.

"He is a really special person in this business, a really nice guy. I met him before when he visited me at Dortmund and we had a nice talk. He is a wonderful person."

Antonio Conte, a good friend of Ranieri and one of his successors as manager of Chelsea, expressed his disappointment at the decision and will offer his countryman support.

Conte said: "I'm very, very sad, because this is our job and for sure I'm disappointed for him. First, he's a friend. He's a really good man. And he's a really good manager. He reached a dream to win the title.

"I understand the situation. I understand his frustration. For sure I'll call him. It's natural after this type of situation to talk and to show him also my disappointment for this decision."

Gary Lineker has revealed Leicester's "inexplicable" decision reduced him to tears.

The former England striker claimed the Italian's dismissal was a panic-driven move which showed a staggering "lack of gratitude", tarnished the most incredible of Premier League triumphs and would harm the image of Leicester around the world.

Foxes fan and former player Lineker said: "For me, I shed a tear. I shed a tear for Claudio, I shed a tear for football and I shed a tear for my club.

"I just think it's inexplicable to me and it's inexplicable I think to a lot of football fans who love the game, but I suppose in some ways you can explain it in terms of a panic decision. And for me a wrong decision and it's very sad."

He added: "It's a sign of modern football. What happened last season was pretty extraordinary under Claudio Ranieri and I think the lack of gratitude from the owners of the club-- and who knows who else is involved in such a decision - beggars belief.

"For a club like Leicester to win the league last season and the magnificence of that story and the likeability of the club, especially under Claudio Ranieri, the ultimate gentleman, it kind of demeans the club, it takes away from the glory of last season.

"Whereas Leicester were hugely popular with everyone right around the world, to do something like this now I think loses a lot of that popularity."

Premier League fixtures: Today (3pm unless stated): Chelsea v Swansea City, Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough, Everton v Sunderland, Hull City v Burnley, West Bromwich Albion v Bournemouth, Watford v West Ham United (5.30pm) Tomorrow: Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City (1.30pm)

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