Vardy rages at 'extremely hurtful' reports he forced out Ranieri as he posts emotional tribute

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The striker has vehemently denied that he played a role in the Italian's departure from Leicester City, insisting he owes him his eternal gratitude

Jamie Vardy has posted a tribute to Claudio Ranieri and insisted he finds it "extremely hurtful" that he's been accused of forcing the former Leicester City manager out of the club.

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Newspaper reports had suggested that certain members of the Premier League champions wanted Ranieri gone, with the club languishing in 18th place in the table.

But Vardy has taken to social media to deny he had anything to do with his former manager's sacking, insisting he has "complete respect" for the Italian and what they achieved together.

He wrote: "I must have written and deleted my words to this post a stupid amount of times! 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 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.

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"I wish Claudio the very very best in whatever the future holds for him. Thank You Claudio for everything."

Roberto Mancini is the favourite to take charge at the King Power Stadium, with Leicester having dropped into the relegation zone following Crystal Palace's win over Middlesbrough on Saturday.