Loveable, friendly and endearing; Claudio Ranieri is all those things. However, the Leicester City manager is also a fool who missed a trick.
The former Chelsea gaffer should’ve handed his notice in as soon as the Foxes’ title celebrations had ended, and got out of the King Power Stadium sharpish.
It was everything you’d want in a fairy tale; the dream you tell your children who are aspiring footballers, that came to life.
But it was always going to end like this, it was always going to come crashing down around the club that Gary Lineker thinks is called Gary Lineker FC.
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
And I always thought Ranieri knew this, that Wes Morgan did, that Riyad Mahrez did. But quite clearly they didn’t.
Sure, there’s every right for them, as Premier League champions, officially the best team in England for nine or so months, to have that self-belief. But the biggest downfall of any elite athlete is not knowing when to quit.
It was a blip in the system, the status quo wasn’t reshuffled, it was merely given a kick up the backside. And all is right with the world again; Leicester are fighting relegation and Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City make up the top four.
Ranieri had a chance to maintain a legacy, that some of the greatest managers the game has ever had, would struggle to compare with.
Sure, you’ll argue it’s a job and that he’s making himself unemployed. But football isn’t the real world: Ranieri won’t be awake at night worrying when the next bill will come through the door or whether he can provide for his family.
Top level football management is a game of fantasy, it isn’t a job for the reasons that myself and you have a job. The financial gain is so disgusting, it makes the fear of being sacked an almost welcome one – even Tony Pulis can afford to pay back Crystal Palace the £3.7million he was ordered to.
Managers in the upper echelons are all about their ego, their reputation and most importantly their legacy.
Ferguson has no legacy but a wonderful and well deserved reputation; Wenger is respected and will leave behind a phenomenal legacy; Mourinho has never left behind a legacy but until his second spell at Chelsea, he had a world-class reputation – that’s crashed and burned now.
Ranieri should’ve seen the bigger picture; Leicester were always going to have this season, a campaign of relegation fears. So why not, in a game where selfishness is just expected, didn’t Ranieri jump ship? As the man who took the Foxes to the title, and when it all crumbled after he left – as it was always going to – the Italian could’ve been the manager with a legacy that dared us all to dream.
It sounds like the Leicester City players were pretty sneaky in getting Ranieri the sack, going behind the Italian’s back to the board. But do any of them make our ‘snake XI’?