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Just 298 days after winning the Premier League, it’s Ciao Claudio

Fri, Feb 24, 9:39am by Head Editor

The man who led the 5000-1 outsiders, Leicester City, to one of the biggest underdog stories in the history of sport, just nine months ago, has been shown the door.

Yes, Claudio Ranieri has been sacked, just six weeks after he was named as FIFA’s coach of the year and amid talk that a statue would be erected of him the Midlands city.

The 65-year-old was one of the more popular managers of the modern era but became the second manager in three seasons to lose his job the year after winning the Premier League title. Jose Mourinho suffered the same fate in December 2015 and this again proves just how brutal the business can be.

The announcement comes just two weeks after the Italian was offered the “unwavering support” of the club’s Thai owners.

Just 17 days ago, Ranieri was $4 to get the sack before the end of the season, while Leicester were $3.30 to endure the drop. Now the manager is gone and Leicester, who haven’t scored a League goal in 2017, are $2.70 to go down as the Foxes sit only one place above the relegation zone.

By the time the Foxes host the fifth placed Liverpool ($1.60) on Tuesday morning at 7am (AEDT), they could theoretically be in the relegation zone. They are at the huge odds of $5.50 to get a much needed three points.

Ranieri was informed of the decision when the club returned from their Champions League last-16 match against Sevilla. To put Leicester’s season into context, they seemed happy with the 2-1 defeat, in which they were largely outplayed.

As the search for a new manager begins, assistant coach, Craig Shakespeare, and the first-team coach, Mike Stowell, will take the reins. Two of Ranieri’s other coaches, Paolo Benetti and Andrea Azzalin, were also moved on.

If Leicester were to be relegated, they would be the first club since Manchester City in 1938 to go down the year after winning the league.

Sportsbet has already put up a market for the next permanent Leicester manager with Roberto Mancini the $2.25 favourite ahead of Frank de Boer ($5.50) and Nigel Pearson ($8).

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