Leicester City’s ‘fairytale’ season ends with Premier League title
(BBC) – Leicester City have won the Premier League title in one of the greatest sporting stories of all time.
Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Monday confirmed a stunning achievement for Claudio Ranieri’s side. Leicester started the campaign as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title after almost being relegated last season.
But they have lost just three league games in what has been described as a “fairytale” and the “most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport”.
Closest challengers Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and last year’s champions Chelsea, have all failed to match the Foxes’ consistency across the season.
After Leicester drew 1-1 at Manchester United on Sunday, Tottenham needed to win all three of their remaining league games to catch the Foxes.
But their title hopes were ended when they squandered a 2-0 lead to only draw at London rivals Chelsea.
Match of the Day pundit and former Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and England striker Alan Shearer said Leicester’s achievement was “the biggest thing ever in football”.
Shearer, who won the Premier League in 1995 with underdogs Blackburn, told BBC Sport: “For a team like Leicester to come and take the giants on with their wealth and experience – not only take them on but to beat them – I think it’s the biggest thing to happen in football.”
Gianni Infantino, president of football’s world governing body Fifa, said Leicester’s “beautiful story” was a “fairytale”.
It is Leicester’s first top-flight title and the club, owned by Thai billionaire businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, have also qualified for next season’s Champions League group stages for the first time.
The Foxes started the season among the favourites for relegation and only the three promoted sides – Watford, Norwich and Bournemouth – were longer odds for the league title.
Ranieri, who took over from the sacked Nigel Pearson in the summer, was seen as an uninspired choice by some fans and pundits after his predecessor had overseen a run of seven wins in nine games as Leicester escaped relegation in 2014-15.
The Italian’s previous job ended abruptly when his Greece side lost to European minnows Faroe Islands during Euro 2016 qualifying.
Yet the charismatic 64-year-old’s side – assembled for less than £30m and playing pacy, direct, counter-attacking football – has confounded the experts.