Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel became the first Foxes player to pay respect to Claudio Ranieri. The homage came 24 hours after the Leicester board sacked the Italian gaffer.
“I would like to thank Claudio for everything he’s done for Leicester City Football Club, and for me personally. He deserves massive respect and huge credit for what he achieved here with us. Thanks boss,” Schmeichel said on his Instagram account.
Schmeichel’s statement is viewed by many as an attempt to clear his name from the list of “one or two” players who had taken against Ranieri. It has been reported earlier that Claudio lost the backing of his players prior to his sacking, as reported by Eurosport.
Prior to his exit from the club, Ranieri told close friends that he had the respect of the vast majority of his dressing room. However, a couple of players had an issue with him, according to Sky Sports.
The former Chelsea manager was sacked on Thursday night. It was less than two weeks after the Leicester owners gave him “unwavering support” despite a poor run on results. The poor run of form has left the reigning Premier League champions just one point above the relegation zone.
It is being reported that Leicester’s senior players told the club owners about being unhappy with Ranieri in a meeting on Thursday morning, following their 2-1 Champions League loss to Sevilla. The meeting, which was called by the owners – not the players – also revealed that Ranieri had dented his relationship with other members of the coaching staff, including Craig Shakespeare, assistant manager.
However, Shakespeare, who has taken over the mantle of caretaker manager has denied his relationship with Ranieri has deteriorated. The 53-year-old has tagged the incident as “speculation without foundation.”
“A lot of it has been speculation without foundation. My relationship with Claudio has been perfectly fine all along – I’ve never had a problem with him and he’s never had a problem with me,” Shakespeare said.
“We spoke on the phone after the news broke, and he actually thanked me for my support. He seemed fine, a bit shocked but his tone was no different.”
Ranieri receives support from his peers
A host of Premier League managers have come out in support of Ranieri on Friday. It included the likes of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese gaffer even went on to the extent of claiming that the Leicester stadium should be named “The Claudio Ranieri Stadium.”
“I thought last season, when I was sacked as a champion, I thought it was a giant, negative thing. Now I realize that was peanuts compared with what happened to Claudio. He is somebody that probably deserves to have the Leicester stadium named ‘The Claudio Ranieri Stadium’.”
Photo courtesy: Tom Brogan/Flickr