Claudio Ranieri has been speaking for the first time since losing his job as manager of Leicester City on Thursday.
The Italian was given his marching orders less that 24 hours after a spirited 2-1 Champions League defeat to Sevilla, albeit with the reigning Premier League champions hovering precariously over the relegation zone and with just five league wins all season.
In an emotional statement released on Friday afternoon, Ranieri expressed his surprise and sadness at losing his job in this manner, while also paying tribute to the club’s players and fans for the unprecedented achievements of last season.
The statement reads:
“Yesterday my dream died.
“After the euphoria of last season and being crowned Premier League Champions all I dreamt of was staying with Leicester City, the Club I love, for always.
“Sadly this was not to be.
“I wish to thank my wife Rosanna and all my family for their never ending support during my time at Leicester.
“My thanks go to Paolo and Andrea who accompanied me on this wonderful journey. To Steve Kutner and Franco Granello for bringing me the opportunity to become a Champion.
“Mostly I have to thank Leicester City Football Club. The adventure was amazing and will live with me forever.
“Thank you to all the journalists and the media who came with us and enjoyed reporting on the greatest story in football.
“My heartfelt thanks to everybody at the Club, all the players, the staff, everybody who was there and was part of what we achieved.
“But mostly to the supporters. You took me into your hearts from day one and loved me. I love you too. No one can ever take away what we together have achieved, and I hope you think about it and smile every day the way I always will.
“It was a time of wonderfulness and happiness that I will never forget. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to be a Champion with all of you.