Football

The fairy tale comes true as Leicester win EPL

Leicester City can now be crowned Premier League champions, completing one of the most remarkable sporting miracles of all time.

Tottenham's failure to beat defending champions Chelsea in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Monday night means the unlikeliest of leaders have an unassailable seven-point lead over their nearest challengers with just two games of this fairytale season to go.

WATCH: The Leicester players react to the final whistle of the Chelsea - Tottenham match

 

 

First-half goals from Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son looked like extending the title battle into next weekend but Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard were on target for Chelsea to finally down second-placed Spurs' charge.

Spurs striker Harry Kane applauds fans after the match against Chelsea ends in a draw, giving Leceister the EPL title PHOTO: REUTERS

The Foxes were 5,000/1 outsiders at the start of the season and among the favourites for relegation but in nine unforgettable months they have turned their 'Impossible Dream' into reality by claiming a first top-flight title in their 132-year history.

They could have sealed the trophy themselves with a win against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday but a 1-1 draw kept the door slightly ajar for Spurs, who then needed to win all their remaining three games and hope  Leicester took no more than one point from their matches with Everton at home and Chelsea away on the final day.

For Leicester to win the title is one thing, doing it with two games to spare makes this achievement even more impressive, especially considering they had long since blazed clear of the usual big-spending title contenders from Manchester and London. 

DOUBTED

Claudio Ranieri, who many doubted was the right man to replace Nigel Pearson last summer, is also celebrating a major league title for the first time in his 30-year managerial career although he may be one of the last to learn about this astonishing moment in football history having revealed he would be flying back from lunch with his 96-year-old mother in Italy during Monday night's Stamford Bridge clash.

Here, we'll have all the reaction, quotes and tributes as they come in along with plenty of features and statistics about this unprecedented fairytale story in football history.

 Leicester City fans celebrate their team becoming the English Premier League champions in central Leicester PHOTO: AFP

Leicester City Reaction

Captain Wes Morgan:

"It's the best feeling of my career and I couldn't be prouder that it's as part of this team.

"Everyone's worked so hard for this, nobody believed we could do it, but here we are, Premier League champions and deservedly so. I've never known a spirit like the one between these boys, we're like brothers."

"People saw it last season when everyone expected us to be relegated, but we fought back to prove people wrong. This season's been a continuation of that. We've built on the momentum, but I don't think anyone believed it would come to this. Saturday can't come quickly enough. I can't wait to get my hands on the trophy."

 

 

Striker Jamie Vardy:

"It's an unbelievable feeling. I've never known anything like it.

"We were scrapping to stay in the league last season and on Saturday we'll be lifting the trophy. That gives you an idea of how much hard work has gone into this season from every single player and member of staff. It's the biggest achievement in the history of a great club and we all feel privileged to be part of it.

"It's even more special to have done it with these lads. Every minute of hard work we've put in on the training pitch has been worth it for this moment."

Midfielder Andy King:

"I thought I'd seen everything with this club, but I never thought I'd see this. It's difficult to put into words. The players deserve it, the gaffer and the staff deserve it, and the fans deserve it. It's been an unbelievable season.

The story of where this team has come from to get to this point has been all over the world recently and I think the lads deserve great credit for the way they've taken it in their stride, stayed focused and kept delivering results - especially with a great side like Spurs chasing us so hard. We've been so consistent and just determined not to let the opportunity pass us by.

We deserve this."

REACTION VIA TWITTER

Leicester defender Robert Huth (@robert_huth): "What a game... makes me look like an angel! CHAMPIONS!!!"

Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez (@Mahrez22): "CHAMPIONS !!!!! thank u everyone !!!"

Foxes defender Liam Moore (@liammoore93): "Love this club love theses boys! Tough season personally but it's all about the TEAM. what a squad to be apart off #champions"

Foxes Title Tributes

Tributes from personalities in the world of football and wider sport...

Former Leicester striker and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker told Radio 5Live: 

"It's extraordinary. Sat watching with three of my boys. Couple of Leicester fans they are. It was just so emotional, so incredible. It looked like it was going to go to next Saturday. Then that extraordinary second half. I just can't get my head round it.

"I just think it's generally the biggest sporting shock. I can't think of anything that surpasses it. When it's your own team it's too extraordinary.

Too difficult to put over in words. To be honest I got a bit emotional at the end of the game. I just couldn't hold it back. It was quite hard to breathe the last few minutes to be honest.

"I've followed them since I was a little kid. I was a season-ticket holder until I was seven years old. I saw them in a cup final - lose - that was the closest we ever got to big glory. Won the league cup a couple of times but this is just something else. This is actually impossible.

"There were no odds that I would have taken at the start of the season. No odds. You could have given me 10 million to one and I'd have said 'Nah, it's a waste of a quid'. It's extraordinary.

I'm from there and I went to play for them for a couple of years. I even kind of part owned them for a while when they were in trouble.

To see where they are now and to enjoy this moment especially with my family, it's incredible."

 

 

Former Leicester midfielder Robbie Savage told Radio 5Live:

"It's going to be one unbelievable night for Leicester. Those fans have been with that team through thick and thin.

I was with Muzzy Izzet at the weekend he was scoring goals in League One not all that long ago and now they're Premier League champions. The greatest achievement in sporting history. I don't think anything betters this. It's incredible.

They've proved a lot of people wrong. I was a massive sceptic of Claudio Ranieri. I didn't think they could win it but they've proved me and a lot of people wrong and they thoroughly, thoroughly deserve it. What an amazing night."

Chelsea captain John Terry: 

"Congratulations to Leicester because they have been superb this year.

The rivalry with Tottenham means a lot but that still hurts us tonight losing the league title after the way we won it last year.

It hurts passing the Premier League title to Leicester but credit to them, they've been superb. We've not been good enough but we'll be back next year.

Claudio Ranieri is different class and I'm pleased for him 100 per cent. I spoke to him pre-season and wished him well and to do what they've done this season has been unbelievable and given hope to the smaller sides.

''Credit to Claudio because he's a great manager and a great person.

Congratulations to Leicester and all their players because all season long everyone has been saying they'd lose the next one, they'll lose the next one but they never did and they've kept churning out results.''

Former Liverpool defender and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher added on Sky Sports 1:

''I think there's no doubt that is the greatest achievement in the history of our game, I think it's unprecedented.

I think in the past there's been teams who have come up and won the league but it was more of a level playing field then. Now, what Leicester have done is give inspiration to every football club, every manager, player, supporter all across the land that one day that could be them.

'Football had become a closed shop with the same teams winning year after year and you never believed a story like this could happen, but it has and you just think what that could do for the rest of football now and if it could change and you could see more of this more often.

But it's a fantastic achievement and you can't quite believe it's happened. Statue for Ranieri in the morning I think, isn't it.''

Leicester Supporters' Club chairman Cliff Ginnetta said:

"He (Claudio Ranieri) should be honoured in some way for what he's done.

I know some people will say he's only doing his job and is getting well paid anyway but we should, in some way, even if we only name a street after him, or even a park. We should do something and I hope we do.

I was quite pleased when Claudio was appointed, we needed someone with a bit of nous, more tactically aware.

Nigel Pearson had Plan A but I don't think there was a Plan B. With Claudio there's a Plan B and Plan C.

We needed a foreign manager, they bring so much more to the game than English managers do. I was one of the few and it's great to look at these pundits and think 'what do you really know?'."

"Will we see Leicester carry on being successful? Yes, this is a stepping stone. This is our time and for the next few years Leicester will be one of the clubs up there. I'm not saying we'll win it every year but we'll be up there challenging."

"It all turned for us when we got relegated to League One. I remember that day at Stoke (after a 0-0 draw) in the car park, people in floods of tears and arguments going on between the fans.

Being relegated united the club and it was one of the greatest seasons. We are now fans of the most famous club in the world.

We're more famous than anyone at the moment and we're certainly getting talked about than any other club. It's daunting, everyone feels a bit taken back by it and we still don't believe it.

It's a truly amazing story."

 

Leicester CityeplchampionsCHELSEA (EPL)tottenham hotspurClaudio RanieriJames VardyUncategorisedcelebrationRiyad Mahrez