English Premier League club Leicester City on Thursday sacked manager Claudio Ranieri, just nine months after he led the team to win the Premier League.
The Italian's position has come under intense scrutiny this season during a slump that has left the Foxes flirting with relegation.
The 65-year-old Ranieri was sacked less than 24 hours after his team battled to a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of a Champions League last 16 knockout game against Spanish side Sevilla.
Leicester said on Thursday its board “reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club’s greatest interest.”
The club, owned by Thailand travel group King Power, has won just five of their 25 league games this season. The team has yet to score a league goal in 2017, having also been knocked out of the FA Cup by third-tier Millwall.
TRT World's Simon McGregor-Wood reports.
Who will replace Ranieri?
Leicester vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha of King Power said, “we are duty-bound to put the club’s long-term interests above all sense of personal sentiment.”
Srivaddhanaprabha said ditching Ranieri had been the hardest decision the current owners have made but one they had to take when, with 13 games left to play, there was still a chance of Premier League survival.
"This has been the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City ... but we are now faced with a fight to reach that objective and feel a change is necessary to maximise the opportunity presented by the final 13 games."
Assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and first-team coach Mike Stowell will take caretaker charge ahead of Monday's match against Liverpool.
Guus Hiddink, who helped arrest Chelsea's decline last season when they suffered a slump immediately after winning the title, was installed as the 6:1 favourite by British bookmaker William Hill to replace Ranieri.
Hills made Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, who enjoyed success as Leicester manager from 1995-2000, the 8:1 second-favourite.