Claudio Ranieri being sacked by Leicester City just nine months after winning a historic league title with the club may have seemed unduly harsh. But in fact, Ranieri is joining an illustrious list of managers who have suffered this fate.
Ranieri’s dismissal marks the second straight year the reigning Premier League champions sacked their manager the following season, after Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea imploded last year. Mourinho and the Blues lifted the trophy in May 2015 and parted ways in December of the same year.
Ranieri is not even the first Italian to have been fired soon after a league triumph. Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini can share Ranieri’s pain, with Ancelotti having been sacked by Chelsea a year after sealing the club’s first Premier League-FA Cup double, and Mancini getting the boot after winning the 2007-08 Serie A title with Inter Milan and the 2011-12 Premier League title with Manchester City.
Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are both quick to cut ties with managers no matter how recent their success. Madrid’s sacking of Vicente del Bosque in 2003 rivals Leicester’s decision to sack Ranieri in terms of harshness, as del Bosque had become the most successful Real Madrid manager in modern history, winning the Champions League twice.
The club announced it would not renew his contract only a day after the 2003 La Liga title, the second of del Bosque’s tenure, had been secured. Madrid also sacked Fabio Capello (twice) and Bernd Schuster within a year of league triumphs.
Bayern are similarly ruthless, and have handed out such treatment three times in recent memory – to Ottmar Hitzfeld, Felix Magath, and Louis van Gaal. Hitzfeld won the Champions League and four league titles between 1998 and 2004, but his sacking in April 2004 came less than a year after securing the 2002-03 Bundesliga title.
Magath was sacked despite winning two straight league and cup doubles, a first in Bundesliga history. He secured the second double in May 2006 and was gone by January 2007.
Louis van Gaal was also sacked months after a double, which he’d achieved in a 2009-10 season which also included a trip to the Champions League final.
Laurent Blanc rounds off the list, winning Ligue 1 three straight years with Paris Saint-Germain but failing to make enough progress in Europe to truly impress PSG’s Qatari owners. Despite securing a domestic treble in 2015-16, Blanc was sacked last summer.
How times change. Last May, the idea that Claudio Ranieri could be sacked anytime soon was unthinkable. Having guided Leicester City to a miraculous Premier League triumph, Ranieri seemed like he had a job for life.
Nine months later, with Leicester City in 17th place and just one point above the relegation zone after an abysmal run of form, Ranieri has indeed been sacked. The Foxes had lost five straight games in the Premier League and hadn’t scored a league goal in 2017, to slip in the relegation battle, but even viewed in that light, Ranieri’s sacking seems overly harsh.
That being said, the pressing matter at hand now is to find someone who can drag Leicester out of their slump and ensure they don’t become the first reigning Premier League champions to be relegated.
The Italian has been installed as one of the early favourites for the job, and there’s no doubt that Mancini comes with pedigree. He’s a former Premier League winner, of course, having guided Manchester City to the title in 2012. He also won three league titles with Inter Milan.
He also has a Leicester City connection, having made four appearances on loan for the Foxes in 2001 while he was in the process of earning his coaching badges.
Whether Mancini is the right man to pull a team out of a relegation dogfight is a different story, and that is the doubt that will be on the Leicester City owners’ minds.
Garry Monk knows all about knee-jerk sackings, and will have some sympathy for Claudio Ranieri. Monk had led Swansea City to their best-ever Premier League finish in 2014-15, ending in eighth place, but was sacked after a poor run of form just over six months later.
Monk has taken up the unenviable task of trying to restore Leeds United to their former glories, and under his management Leeds have surged into the playoff places in the Championship. He is no doubt itching to get back to the Premier League – but would he jump to a Premier League side right now, or try to get there in a few months with a famous triumph with Leeds?
FRANK DE BOER
The Dutchman had a successful spell at Ajax Amsterdam, becoming the first manager to win four consecutive Eredivisie titles during his six seasons in charge. After that, he was one of the most highly sought-after managers in European football, and duly took up the Inter Milan job last summer.
De Boer Managerial Stats
However, his time in Milan was a disaster, as he lasted only 85 days in the job.
Inter Milan struggled to find form in Serie A under de Boer, although he did get a marquee win over Juventus, but they finished last in their Europa League group.
De Boer feels he needed more time to achieve success at Inter, but time is not a luxury he will have if he is handed the Leicester job. Given his initial struggles at Inter and the need for instant results at the King Power Stadium, De Boer would be a puzzling choice.
Before Claudio Ranieri, Martin O’Neill was perhaps the most beloved manager in Leicester City fans’ hearts. He led the team to promotion to the Premier League in his first season in charge, and Leicester City finished in the top half of the Premier League in all four seasons under O’Neill’s stewardship. O’Neill also led the club to three consecutive Football League Cup finals, winning twice, which is why he is so loved by Leicester fans.
O’Neill has gone from strength to strength in his managerial career ever since, and is highly regarded. He’s had a successful time as manager of Ireland, who put in a good showing at Euro 2016. With his job as an international manager not taking up too much time right now, he could be just the man for the Foxes – and Leicester City’s players could probably use some tough love from O’Neill’s assistant manager, a certain Roy Keane.
The Match of the Day presenter and Leicester City legend was distraught at the news of Ranieri’s sacking, calling the decision to “inexplicable, unforgivable, and gut-wrenchingly sad.” It’s safe to say he’s not too enamoured of the Leicester owners right now, and Lineker has never previously expressed a strong desire to get into management, but could a rescue job at his beloved club tempt him away from his television job?
It would be a brave decision for a player who is loved by Leicester fans for his 95 goals for the club, but it does come with one tantalising perk: if Lineker takes the job and saves Leicester from relegation, he’ll have bragging rights over his Match of the Day colleague Alan Shearer, who infamously took over Newcastle United in a similar situation but couldn’t prevent the Magpies from slipping out of the Premier League.
Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as manager of Leicester City just months after leading the club to a remarkable Premier League title triumph, the Midlands side announced Thursday.
The Italian’s position had come under intense scrutiny this season during a slump that has left the Foxes just a point above the relegation zone.
That follows their startling title triumph, with Leicester 5,000/1 no-hopers before the start of the 2015/16 season.
Not even a gutsy 2-1 loss away to Sevilla in the first leg of a Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday was enough to spare Ranieri, 65, the sack, even though the statement from Thai-owned Leicester confirming his departure from the King Power Stadium proclaimed him the “most successful manager” in the history of the 133-year-old club.
Here’s a look at how the footballing world reacted to the stunning decision: