Zeroes to heroes
Leicester City create football history
Leicester City’s remarkable Premier League triumph after starting the season as 5,000-1 outsiders to win the title made the pages of the press around the world today.
Leicester clinched the English league title for the first time in their 132-year history last night when second-placed Tottenham Hotspur drew with Chelsea, leaving them too far behind the leaders with only two games left to play.
Praise poured in around the world for Leicester, who were on the brink of relegation last season.
France Football led with the news that “Leicester has achieved the impossible,” while Germany’s Bild said: “Europe’s biggest football sensation – Leicester’s title miracle is real.”
Major U.S. newspaper the New York Times‘ article, “Leicester City Completes Rise by Clinching Premier League Title,” drew attention to their meteoric rise after flirting with a drop to the Championship last year.
The Sydney Morning Herald said in an article “Leicester City’s Premier League win much more than a miracle” that the gruelling, “miracle-proof” league schedule makes the team’s victory all the more impressive.
Norway paper VG answered the question of “What Does the Fox Say?”, a Norwegian number one single by Ylvis, by saying “Cha-Cha-Cha Champions”.
The British press reports were no less glowing. From “Zeroes into heroes” (Metro) to “history makers” (Daily Mirror), Claudio Ranieri’s men were lauded all round, with the Sun and Daily Star highlighting the end to Leicester’s anxious wait with a simple “Blue done it”.
The Foxes’ dream run was given a Shakespearean touch by the Guardian, who declared the side “Kings of England” with a picture of Richard III, whose bones are buried in Leicester.
The “fairytale finish for champions Leicester” (The Times) as the club “pulled off greatest fairytale in football history” (Daily Express) was greeted in the Daily Telegraph with “Leicester’s miracle men crowned Premier League champions”.
A Times writer, along with others, said that “you would have got better odds on finding Elvis alive” with bookmakers giving Leicester only a 0.02 percent chance at the beginning of the season.
For the Mirror they were “The Incredibles” and “rebels without a clause” (Mirror) because, as several writers recorded, this was a team put together for so much less money than almost all of their rivals.
The Telegraph also highlighted this fact. “In a story worthy of The Boy’s Own Paper, the team from a relatively small and unglamorous town has come back from near disaster a year ago to overcome flashier, richer rivals.”
It “proved miracles do occasionally happen”, said the Mirror in arguing that Leicester had recaptured some of football’s beauty with its unlikely success.
The accolades were also heaped on manager Claudio Ranieri, who has never won the top flight title before in his 30-year managerial career.
He was “King Claudio” in his home country Italy’s La Gazetta dello Sport, which portrayed him as a Romanesque statue, while Tuttosport hailed him the “King of England”. Corriere dello Sport joined in by hailing the monumental achievement.
Catalan-based sport daily Marca featured Ranieri alongside the headline ‘Ole Leicester!’ The 64-year-old manager spent four years working in Spain with spells at Atletico Madrid and Valencia.
He said that the “heart and the soul” of team’s footballers were the reason behind their incredible success.
The Leicester coach flew to Italy on Sunday to spend some time with his 96-year-old mother in Rome but revealed he made it back to England in time to see the moment Leicester became champions.
“I feel good, I feel good you can imagine,” Ranieri was quoted as saying by Sky Sports today
When asked what was the secret to Leicester’s remarkable campaign, which has seen them lose just three matches en route to claiming the league, the Italian said, “I don’t know the secret. I think the players, their heart and their soul won it.”
Commenting on the first league title win of his 30-year managerial career, Ranieri said, “It means the job is good. I am very, very happy now because if I won this title at the beginning of my career, maybe I would have forgotten it by now.”