Gary Lineker admitted that he 'shed a tear' when news reached him last night that Leicester had sacked Claudio Ranieri.
The England and Leicester legend was speaking on BBC Radio Four and joined the hoards of football fans who are appalled by the decision, which came less than a year after Ranieri guided the relegation candidates to one of the greatest sporting achievements in history.
After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad.
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) February 23, 2017
Not unlike our own Mark Farrelly who decided to play devil's advocate last night, the BBC presenter put it to Lineker that, within the modern game, his sacking seemed utterly plausible. Lineker responded that it struck as a panic decision. You can listen to an audibly saddened Lineker below.
The former England marksmen said of the decision:
It is very sad. It is inexplicable to me. It's inexplicable to a lot football fans who love the game.
I suppose you can explain it in terms of a panic decision and for me a wrong decision.
I shed a tear last night for Claudio, for football and for my club.
It's a sign of modern football, what happened last season was truly extraordinary. The lack of gratitude from the owners of the club and who knows who else involved in such a decision beggars belief.
That season will remain with us forever, it was truly special and a lot of that was down to the management.
The same guy cannot be considered incapable of doing the job a few months months later after achieving what, for me, was the biggest miracle in sport.
Regarding the managerial conveyor belt culture within the modern game, Lineker added that Leicester's decision to rid Ranieri of his duties was slightly different to that of the several Premier League-winning managers who have lost their jobs in recent years.
Yes, in recent times we've seen a few managers lose their clubs after winning the Premier League, but they were mangers of clubs that expect to win titles and spend enough money on their clubs, so I suppose they can justify that and we see it at the big clubs in the world, the Real Madrids etc.
But for a club like Leicester to win the league last season and the magnificence of that story and the likeability of the club, especially under Claudio Ranieri, the ultimate gentleman, it kind of demeans the club, it takes away from the glory of last season.
Whereas Leicester were hugely popular with everyone right around the world, to do something like this now I think loses a lot of that popularity.