Roberto Mancini says Claudio Ranieri's achievements at Leicester City will be remembered for "2,000 years" amid reports the former Manchester City boss has turned down the chance to replace his sacked countryman.
Mancini emerged as one of the favourites to take over at the King Power Stadium following Ranieri's dismissal, which was announced on Thursday.
However, reports in Italy have suggested the ex-Inter coach has made it clear he is not interested in taking over at the struggling Premier League champions.
And Mancini has now paid tribute to Ranieri's efforts in steering Leicester to the title and guiding them to the last 16 of their debut Champions League campaign.
"Unfortunately, football is like this. If you win, you're the best; if you lose, you pay for it," he told Roma News.
"He did something so great that, in 2,000 years, people will still remember Ranieri. In the end, that's the most important thing.
"We're coaches and we know that, when you choose this job, you can always suffer. Unfortunately, in defeats and difficult moments, it's the coach who always pays for it. It's the law of football."
Mancini had earlier tweeted his support for Ranieri, writing: "I am sorry for my friend Ranieri. He will remain in the history of @LCFC, in the heart of Leicester fans and all football lovers."
The former Italy international, who spent a brief loan spell with Leicester during his playing career, left his post as head coach of Inter by mutual consent last August.
Frank de Boer, who succeeded Mancini at San Siro, is one of the bookmakers' favourites to take charge at the Foxes.