English Premiership

Ranieri dodges corks as Leicester cut loose

2016-05-08 06:39
claudio ranieri (Getty Images)

Leicester - Ambushed by champagne-spraying assailants, Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri vowed that he would not be hitting the town in celebration of his side's Premier League title coronation.

Ranieri was settling down to address the media at the end of a joyous, emotional day at the King Power Stadium on Saturday when left-back Christian Fuchs ran in to drench him -- and the trophy -- with bubbly.

"Tomorrow, training session!" Ranieri, 64, said to Fuchs in mock admonishment.

Having seen skipper Wes Morgan lift the first top-flight trophy in the club's 132-year history following a 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday, fans poured out into the surrounding streets and headed to the city centre, as passing cars excitedly tooted their horns.

But when he was asked how he would celebrate, Ranieri replied: "I am a very calm man, also when I was young. Can you imagine me now going to a disco? No.

"Now I will go upstairs. There is a little party with the chairman (Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha) and all the families and then I go home to sleep.

"I need just three hours and then I will start to think to the next match (at Chelsea on Sunday). I waited so long, but I am so happy. Now I am a mature man and now I can feel better what happened."

The on-pitch entertainment had begun with the acclaimed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli treating the crowd to renditions of 'Nessun Dorma' and 'Time to Say Goodbye', fulfilling a promise he made to Ranieri several weeks ago.

"It was amazing when the maestro Andrea Bocelli sang 'Nessun Dorma'," Ranieri said.

"The emotion was at the top, but it was fantastic. Andrea called me and said, 'I want to come there. There is something magic in Leicester.' He chose this day and it was brilliant."

Bocelli's performance set the scene for a straightforward Leicester victory, in which Jamie Vardy marked his return from a two-game ban with a brace and squandered a penalty that would have drawn him level with Tottenham Hotspur's 25-goal Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot.

Welsh midfielder Andy King, deputising for the suspended Danny Drinkwater, scored Leicester's other goal, with substitute Kevin Mirallas replying late on for Everton.

The game was the culmination of a semi-miraculous story that has seen Leicester rise from the brink of relegation last season to complete one of the most improbable title triumphs in European football history, belying odds of 5,000-1 and winning admirers around the world along the way.

Their chances of successfully defending their title have already been widely written off, but Ranieri believes that if they can maintain the momentum from this season, more fairytales may lie ahead.

"I don't know next season what happens because this has been a magic season, but can you imagine if Leicester start well again -- oof, what happens? I don't know," he said.

"Now, let me think only of this last match, let me go to the sea, recharge my batteries and we restart next season with the same ambition, with the same humility, with the same feeling."

Everton proved perfect guests for the Leicester party as they meekly capitulated to a one-sided defeat that saw them slip one place to 12th in the table.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has come in for sustained criticism from his own fans in recent weeks and he made no attempt to defend his side's performance.

"I think first and foremost, it is just a day for Leicester City and to celebrate them," said the Spaniard.

"I think they've achieved an incredible feat of winning the Premier League and deservedly so.

"From our point of view, it was a very, very disappointing day. We never turned up. We looked like a group of individuals. We never showed the basics that you need in any performance."


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