No break for Leicester: Title-winners train after partying
LEICESTER, England — Even being the first championship winners in Leicester’s 132-year history didn’t get the jubilant players out of training on Tuesday.
After partying late into the night, the squad had to swiftly swap beers for bibs as they resumed training, preparing for the final two games of one of the most astonishing seasons in English football history.
The squad clinched the Premier League title without playing on Monday, watching at top-scorer Jamie Vardy’s house as second-place Tottenham’s challenge ended with a draw at Chelsea.
“The boys were standing on furniture,” captain Wes Morgan said as he arrived at Leicester’s training. “I hope Vards’ house is all right.”
Fans with “champions” flags gathered outside the training ground as media crews from around the world blocked the narrow approach road which is surrounded by rows of houses.
It is a day of celebration that supporters of this unheralded club never anticipated.
In the second tier two years ago, in a relegation fight last season, a 5,000-1 long shot last summer, Leicester is champion of the world’s richest soccer league.
Claudio Ranieri’s task when he was hired as manager last year was just keeping Leicester in the top flight. Now the 64-year-old Italian has his first-ever major title.
“The emotion was at the maximum level,” Ranieri, who was fired from his last job with Greece in 2014, said before training. “It means the job is good. I am very, very happy now because maybe if I won this title at the beginning of my career maybe I would forget. Now I am an old man I can feel it much better.”
The trophy will be handed over to Leicester on Saturday when it hosts Everton in the penultimate match of a season that began with Leicester tipped to be relegated. Instead, the east Midlands team is preparing for a first-ever campaign in the Champions League.
“We made a lot of dreams come true,” Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater said. “It doesn’t sound right, but we’ve done it. We’re here to stay. We’re not going to drop off. We’re going to push on.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.