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Leicester City fire Premier League winning coach Claudio Ranieri

Less than a year after winning the Premier League title, Leicester City have fired their coach Claudio Ranieri. The decision comes after defeat by Sevilla in the Champions League.

Leicester City have fired Claudio Ranieri, the man who guided them to their historic Premier League title.

The Foxes were 5000-1 to win the Premier League at the start of their title-winning campaign last season, and produced one of the greatest fairytales in sporting history.

But the Foxes have endured a woeful defence to their crown, dropping to 17th - just one point and one place above the Premier League relegation zone.

The Italian was fired less than 24 hours after a 2-1 defeat by Sevilla in the Champions League.

Großbritannien Fußball Leicester City Spieler Riyad Mahrez (Getty Images/AFP/A. Dennis)

Riyad Mahrez is one of many Leicester players to underperform this season

In a statement, Leicester said the board "reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club's greatest interest."

"This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City," vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said.

"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."

Srivaddhanaprabha praised Ranieri, who took over in July 2015 and who masterminded one of the most remarkable triumphs in sporting history.

"Claudio has brought outstanding qualities to his office," he said.

"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."

Former Leicester and England striker Gary Lineker expressed his surprise.

"After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad," he said on Twitter.

mds/rd (DPA)

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