Claudio Ranieri on Leicester City sacking: 'Yesterday my dream died'

Claudio Ranieri has spoken out following Leicester City's decision to sack him on Thursday, saying: "Yesterday my dream died."

Leicester made the move to dismiss Ranieri just nine months after he guided the club to their first Premier League title win.

The English champions are battling against relegation this term, sitting one place and one point above the drop zone, and decided a change was needed to give the team the best possible chance of survival.

"Yesterday my dream died," Ranieri said in a statement. "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."

Ranieri added: "I wish to thank my wife Rosanna and all my family for their never ending support during my time at Leicester.''

He also thanked his agents, Steve Kutner and Franco Granello, for "bringing me the opportunity to become a champion,'' and added his appreciation for backroom staff members Paolo Benetti and Andrea Azzalin, who departed with him.

"Mostly I have to thank Leicester City Football Club. The adventure was amazing and will live with me forever,'' Ranieri said. "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.''

A number of Premier League managers have come out in support of Ranieri on Friday, with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wearing a specially-printed shirt bearing his initials at a news conference and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp comparing the sacking to other major world events in recent months.

Reports have suggested some Leicester players had spoken to the club's Thai owners to voice their concerns over Ranieri's reign ahead of his dismissal, but caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare has rejected any claims that the 65-year-old had lost the dressing room.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.