BRENDAN Rodgers claimed he had been "living his dream" at Celtic as he departed for Leicester.

Rodgers was confirmed as Foxes manager after a whirlwind day of developments which paved the way for Neil Lennon to return to the Celtic dugout until the end of the season.

The timing of his departure has been criticised by fans and former players such as Chris Sutton, with Celtic eight points clear in the Ladbrokes Premiership but facing a much stronger challenge from Rangers than in Rodgers' first two seasons in charge.

READ MORE: Brendan Rodgers leaves Celtic for Leicester City

But the 46-year-old claimed he had taken Celtic as far as he could and chief executive Peter Lawwell stated the club had to respect Rodgers' desire to pursue the opportunity to join the Premier League club.

Speaking to the Leicester website, he said: "I was certainly in no hurry to leave Celtic. Celtic is a club that's a huge club worldwide, a renowned club, and I loved working with the players there.

"We were on a journey of great success over these last years, but, when the opportunity came to talk to Leicester and I was able to analyse it, it allowed me to think that I'd probably achieved and taken the club maybe at Celtic as far as I could at this moment."

Rodgers, whose contract was due to expire in 2021, leaves having won all seven domestic trophies available during his spell in charge.

READ MORE: 'The lads were in awe' - New boss Brendan Rodgers' first words to Leicester squad revealed

He said in a statement on Celtic's website: "It has been a real honour to serve the club and its supporters across the past three seasons. I have been a Celtic supporter all my life and the reason I came to Glasgow was to work for the club I had such love and affection for.

"From the moment I walked into Celtic Park I have been living my dream and, together with the players, staff and supporters, we have been on an amazing journey, which I will never forget.

"To be welcomed in the way I was on my first day at Celtic Park is something I will always treasure. From that day I have given my all to the role of Celtic manager. I would like to sincerely thank the board at Celtic for giving me the opportunity to manage Celtic in the first place and for the support they have given me throughout my time as manager.

"It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Peter (Lawwell), Ian (Bankier), Dermot (Desmond) and the rest of the Celtic board, and together we have done everything we could to bring success to our supporters.

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"I want to make a special mention to the Celtic players. They were an absolute pleasure to work with and I want to thank them all for the commitment and positivity they gave to my coaching philosophy each and every day. Every one of them will be a friend for life.

"Celtic is in great hands for the future and I am sure the club is in a wonderful position to continue to dominate Scottish football and do well in Europe, I know that will be the aim of everyone at the club.

"Celtic will always be my club and I wish everyone connected to Celtic - the board of directors, the staff and, of course, the Celtic supporters - every success in the future."