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Leicester City of 2015/16 – The World’s Team

Leicester City

Who would’ve thought!

Leicester City hadn’t exhausted their heroics escaping relegation last season, but they didn’t know they had more in them. Manager Claudio Ranieri, who joined the Foxes in July ’15, was perhaps the most known face in the squad and even he came with an image tarnished in England because of his days managing Chelsea.

Leicester were your ideal case of a ‘Live to fight another day’ team. Being crowned ‘CHAMPIONS’ was a distant dream, but one they chased with valour, winning hearts all along. With only Tottenham posing a threat to the Foxes’ title chances in latter stages of the league, football fans across the world rallied behind Ranieri’s men to do the ‘unthinkable’.

Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, N’golo Kante and most other Leicester players were almost unknown beyond their own set of supporters, barely or perhaps not making the fantasy league teams of Premier League fans across the world. Three Leicester players – Vardy, Mahrez & Kante – were among the six finalists for this year’s ‘PFA Player of the Year’ award, which Mahrez went on to win. Vardy was voted the ‘Football Writers’ Player of the Year’.

Ranieri’s appointment in the summer was ridiculed. The Italian was labelled favourite to be the first Premier League manager to be sacked during the season. He shut himself and his players out of all pre-season mockery and set goals for himself and his team – first was crossing the 40 points barrier, then securing European qualification and then securing Champions League qualification. It wasn’t until after Matchday 34 that Ranieri admitted to his side being in the title race. Last night, helped by his former side Chelsea, the Italian had achieved his ultimate goal – winning the Premier League.

Bookies had written the foxes off even before the first kick of the ball in the 2015/16 Premier League season, placing them as 5000:1 outsiders to win the league. Sky Bet is the betting industry’s biggest losers with 128 people to pay-out on Leicester’s pre-season valuation. Other houses like Ladbrokes and William Hill have 47 & 25 bets at the highest odds respectively to payoff.

Maybe securing the title with a result of their own would have been ideal, but winning the title in itself is something that’ll take sinking in for the club’s management, its players and fans. They believed all along, but the tale is a little too grand to sink in quick.

Leicester City will now walkout to a guard of honour by Everton at home this weekend and another by Chelsea players at Stamford Bridge on the final day of the season. If ever a guard of honour was earned, it was by this Leicester side.

Call it a ‘fairy-tale’ if you will, but know that this is a tale of sweat & blood, where a team stepped up from the ashes to take this cash-rich league by surprise. Have Leicester breathed fire into the Premier League? Yes, they have. Fires burn, and the biggest burn for the traditional English Champions is Leicester’s win.

Maybe they achieve more next season or maybe they don’t! We’ll ponder over it, once we get over what they achieved.

Godspeed Leicester City Football Club!

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