Jamie Vardy has professed his "eternal gratitude" to Claudio Ranieri in an emotional tribute following the Italian's dismissal as Leicester City manager on Thursday.
Leicester have fallen well short of expectations this season after winning the Premier League last term and slipped into the relegation zone as a result of Saturday's matches, form which has seen Ranieri pay with his job.
The club announced on Thursday that, despite holding on to a respectable 2-1 loss at Sevilla in the Champions League just 24 hours earlier, Ranieri had been relieved of his duties, news which was not universally well-received given the Italian's exploits last season.
And while Vardy refused to criticise the decision to dismiss Ranieri, he spoke glowingly of the 65-year-old and the impact he has had on the England international's career.
"I must have written and deleted my words to this post a stupid amount of times," he wrote on his official Instagram account.
"I owed Claudio to find the right and appropriate words! Claudio has and always will have my complete respect! What we achieved together and as a team was the impossible!
"He believed in me when many didn't and for that I owe him my eternal gratitude.
"There is speculation I was involved in his dismissal and this [is] completely untrue, unfounded and is extremely hurtful!
"The only thing we are guilty of as a team is underachieving which we all acknowledge both in the dressing room and publicly and will do our best to rectify.
"I wish Claudio the very, very best in whatever the future holds for him. Thank You Claudio for everything."
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