Claudio Ranieri has been fired as the manager of Leicester City.
The Foxes have decided to move on from the manager who led them to an improbable Premier League title just nine months ago after dropping into the relegation fight this season.
Ranieri’s status at Leicester has been in question for weeks as the Foxes have stumbled down the table. They are yet to win a Premier League match since the start of 2017 and only have five wins in the entire season.
That has left them only a point out of the relegation zone, a fact that would scare any club, but is especially terrifying to the Foxes considering how poorly they’ve played. It’s not hard to argue that Leicester have been the worst team in the league for nearly two months now.
Leicester vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said the board felt they had no choice but to act, with the distinct possibility that the club could get relegated as champions – not seen in the top tier of English football since 1938.
Srivaddhanaprabha said in a statement: "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.
"It was never our expectation that the extraordinary feats of last season should be replicated this season. Indeed, survival in the Premier League was our first and only target at the start of the campaign.
"But we are now faced with a fight to reach that objective and feel a change is necessary to maximise the opportunity presented by the final 13 games."
The hope for Leicester is that a new manager can give them a boost the way new bosses did at Hull and Swansea. The two other relegation contenders have made huge strides since switching managers and the Foxes are betting that a new boss can do the same for them.
That Ranieri had to go is especially difficult considering the wondrous job he did last season. He took Leicester, a team with 5,000/1 odds to win the title, to the top of the Premier League to become the most unexpected champions in the history of the league. He was exceedingly likable, both in Leicester and around the world as fans rallied around the remarkable Foxes.
Ranieri threw his players pizza parties and was always quick to a joke, while using his time away from the club to visit his mother back in Italy. He was absolutely beloved and the club wanted nothing more than to keep him.
Unfortunately, the results this season made it tough for Leicester to justify holding onto Ranieri. They simply lost too much and while there was no realistic expectation that they would contend for the title again, the Foxes did not expect to be in a relegation fight. That’s where they find themselves and, needing a change, they felt they had no choice but to jettison the man who led them to glory.