Claudio Ranieri has broken his silence 24 hours after being sacked by Leicester City.

Releasing a statement to the media, the Italian manager described his tenure at the club as ‘a time of wonderfulness and happiness that I will never forget’.

Thanking the fans, the players and his family, the 65-year-old said he had hoped to stay at the club ‘I love’ forever.

‘Yesterday my dream died,’ his statement read.

‘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.’

Ranieri was sacked by the club’s owners on Thursday night, 298 days after he helped guide Leicester to the most improbable of Premier League triumphs.

‘I wish to thank my wife Rosanna and all my family for their never ending support during my time at Leicester,’ he continued.

‘My thanks go to Paolo and Andrea who accompanied me on this wonderful journey. To Steve Kutner and Franco Granello for bringing me the opportunity to become a Champion.

‘Mostly I have to thank Leicester City Football Club. The adventure was amazing and will live with me forever.

‘My heartfelt thanks to everybody at the Club, all the players, the staff, everybody who was there and was part of what we achieved.’

Ranieri singled out the Leicester fans for the support they had showed him throughout his time at the club.

‘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.’