Claudio Ranieri has said his “dream died” when Leicester sacked him.
The Italian led the Foxes to a shock Premier League title last season but was axed on Thursday with the club a point above the relegation zone.
Leicester have lost their last five league games and are yet to score in the top flight in 2017 ahead of Monday’s visit of Liverpool.
” Yesterday my dream died,” he said in a statement.
“After the euphoria of last season and being crowned Premier League champions all I dreamt of was staying with Leicester City, the club I love, for always.
“Sadly this was not to be. I wish to thank my wife Rosanna and all my family for their never ending support during my time at Leicester.”
He also thanked his agents, Steve Kutner and Franco Granello, for “bringing me the opportunity to become a champion”, and added his appreciation for backroom staff members Paolo Benetti and Andrea Azzalin, who departed with him.
“Mostly I have to thank Leicester City Football Club. The adventure was amazing and will live with me forever,” Ranieri said.
“Thank you to all the journalists and the media who came with us and enjoyed reporting on the greatest story in football.
“My heartfelt thanks to everybody at the club, all the players, the staff, everybody who was there and was part of what we achieved. But mostly to the supporters. You took me into your hearts from day one and loved me. I love you too.
“No one can ever take away what we together have achieved, and I hope you think about it and smile every day the way I always will.
“It was a time of wonderfulness and happiness that I will never forget. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to be a champion with all of you.”