Leicester City should honor sacked title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri by naming their stadium after him, Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho said on Friday as English football reacted to news of his shock departure.
Ranieri was axed on Thursday, 298 days after he pulled off one of the most remarkable stories in world sport by leading 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester to the Premier League title.
Even in the precarious world of football management Ranieri’s fall from favour was extraordinary and managers expressed their solidarity on Friday.
Mourinho, himself sacked by Chelsea in December 2015 having taken the club to the title the season before, said Ranieri “wrote the most beautiful history” in the Premier League.
“He deserves the Leicester stadium to be named ‘Claudio Ranieri Stadium’,” he told his news conference.
“I was sacked as a champion (by Chelsea), a giant negative as I thought – peanuts compared to Claudio. He is paying for his success,” he said.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp likened Ranieri’s sacking to the extraordinary political events of 2016.
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce, who probably expected to be battling Ranieri over relegation, said it was the most surprising dismissal of the season.
Leicester have been a shadow of the side that won the title by 10 points last year and five league games in a row left them one point above relegation.
Leicester’s Thai owners offered Ranieri their “unwavering support” this month and the decision to sack him was described by former Leicester player Gary Lineker as a panic measure.