It was just nine months ago when a usual bubbly, cheerful and likeable Claudio Ranieri lifted the Premier League trophy high above his head after Leicester’s outstanding triumph.
He had, quite frankly, guided the Foxes to an impossible victory, beating 5000/1 odds in the process and swiftly overcoming immediate public scepticism with regards to his appointment.
Although the input of modern managers is often made out to be more important than it actually is, a number of key decisions made by Ranieri directly affected their incredible rise, such as when he replaced the more attacking full back of options of Richie De Laet and Jeffrey Schlupp with more solid defenders in Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs.
This lead to a significant increase in clean sheets and a generally far more stable back four which was key in their rise up the table.
Also, away from tactical decisions, the Italian instilled an unbreakable team spirit within the camp, and promising the entire squad with a pizza after their first clean sheet clearly helped improve self-esteem amongst his players.
Overall, it is clear to see that whilst their unbelievable feat included some moments of magic from his players and a little bit of luck, Claudio Ranieri did a remarkable job considering the aim was to avoid relegation.
So, with their goal for last season being to avoid relegation, a title win and qualification for the Champions League should surely have earned Ranieri extra leeway with regards to this season’s performances.
However, it has in reality been the exact opposite.
Due to his brilliant work in his first season, the standard was unfairly raised and he was expected to maintain Leicester’s new found ‘high-achieving club’ status despite the loss of the pivotal N’golo Kante, so although he guided them through the Champions League group stage with ease and has kept them outside the relegation zone, which was their goal before his heroics, the board have taken the appalling decision to relieve him of his duties.
Maybe they think that the club are doomed with Ranieri at the helm, but they haven’t really given him the chance to prove that he has what it takes to keep them up, and in reality, is there a manger they can bring in that can instantly change everything and do a better job than what Ranieri has done this season? It is very unlikely.
Even if the veteran is not the best man for the job looking into the future, it surely would have been a wise idea to at least wait until the end of the season to part ways with the most successful manager in their history.
So, we will have to wait and see if they can somehow bring in a new manager that can improve on their current form, but whatever happens, this harsh sacking has left everyone feeling the pain of Ranieri. Poor, poor Claudio.