Ranieri's sacking sullies the beautiful game
I KNEW the modern football world was brutal but never realised how brutal until I woke to the news that Claudio Ranieri had been sacked by Leicester City.
Like former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said, the Italian should have had a statue of him outside King Power Stadium, but instead he has been thrown on the rubbish tip just like yesterday's newspaper.
What price loyalty? Have Leicester City's Thai owners forgotten just what Ranieri did for the Midlands club last year.
Before the now-65-year-old arrived the Foxes were just another average English Premier League side struggling near the bottom of the pack with no real chance of winning the title.
But come May last year, Ranieri had turned a group of journeymen footballers into champions of England, something that no one gave them a cat-in-hell's chance of achieving, especially the bookmakers, who rated them a 5000-1 chance of winning the EPL crown.
Now it seems those same players have turned on their boss and dumped on him from a great height along with the club's owners, with rumours surfacing that the Italian had "lost" the dressing room as Leicester slipped to fourth from bottom of the EPL.
Of course, football is a results-based business and that always gets thrown up when managers or coaches get the sack.
But Ranieiri surely deserved a little better than the treatment he got from the powers-that-be at Leicester, especially after they backed him to the hilt just under two weeks ago.
Leicester in the Champions League and qualifying for the knockout stages - if you had told fans of the club that would be a reality when Nigel Pearson was the boss in 2015, they would have laughed in your face.
But that is what Ranieri has achieved and he should have been rewarded for that with a chance to at least try to turn things around.
Let's not forget at the recent Laureus Sports Awards, the club won the Spirit of Sport Award and cannot have been far away from winning the team of the year gong which went to the Chicago Cubs.
In a year of sporting upsets, Leicester was arguably the biggest in 2016 and some said its EPL win was the most remarkable story in sports history, yet somehow just a few months down the line, the manager has lost his job.
There are many words that could be used after reading of Ranieri's sacking, but to me the best way to describe it is soul-destroying.
It has happened before and of course it will happen again. But this sacking somehow hits a lot harder for all fans of football.
The beautiful game just got a bit uglier.