(Reuters) – Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy has said he was subjected to death threats and his wife targeted by aggressive motorists after allegations that he contributed to the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri.
The 30-year-old striker, on England duty for this week’s friendly with Germany and World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, said he had suffered abuse walking along the street and also said his wife had been repeatedly “cut up” while driving.
Ranieri left the Midlands club in February, just nine months after winning the Premier League title, with Leicester 17th in the standings and battling relegation. Vardy has since faced accusations of influencing the decision to sack the Italian.
The allegation he attended a meeting called by Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha at East Midlands airport hours after the 2-1 defeat at Sevilla in a Champions league last 16 first-leg tie on Feb. 23 had prompted the abuse, Vardy said.
“It is terrifying,” Vardy told the BBC on Monday.
“I read one story that said I was personally involved in a meeting after the Sevilla game when I was actually sat in anti-doping for three hours.
“But then the story is out there, people pick it up and jump on it and you’re getting death threats about your family, kids, everything.”
Vardy has not accused Leicester fans of the abuse and has not considered reporting it to the police.
Asked where the abuse came from, Vardy said: “On social media, you name it – walking down the street.
“To be honest I get them (taunts) every week. Football fans don’t seem to like me. I just get on with it but when people are trying to cut your missus up while she’s driving along, with the kids in the back of the car it’s not the best. It’s happened plenty of times.”
Vardy said there was no problem between Ranieri and the Leicester players during the Italian’s time in charge.
“No, not at all. Basically if there was an issue you went and did it in the gaffer’s office, man-to-man. Or you went and did it on the tactics board, because he was happy for you to come in and put your opinion across,” he added.
“The stories were quite hurtful to be honest with you. A lot of false accusations were being thrown out there and there was nothing we, as players, could do about it.”
(Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)