Leicester City have done the impossible by winning Premier League title this season and regardless of how many times we listen to this fairy tale, we can never be bored to relive how English football’s perennial underdogs became its biggest success story.
One particular part of this tale that is worth applauding is how Claudio Ranieri got hold of a squad of former Premier League rejects and turned them in to Champions.
Going through the key players in Leicester’s historic title winning squad you would see Robert Huth, a former Chelsea and Stoke Reject. Danny Simpson and Danny Drinkwater, former Manchester United rejects.
Marc Albrighton, a former Aston Villa reject (can you beat that). Then there were Jamie Vardy, N’golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez, who were not given fair opportunities by various teams despite knowing their potential.
These all outcasts so to speak came together at Leicester City and did a remarkable job under the astute guidance of Claudio Ranieri. That in itself is an irony as Ranieri himself was given the boot by Greece’s Football Federation after losing a match to Faroe Islands.
Ranieri came to Leicester with one goal in mind – to keep Leicester safe in Premier League for next couple of seasons. However, he managed to give these former Premier League rejects a massive lift and the much needed confidence booster to go and achieve the impossible.
We have heard many stories along the way this season from Leicester City players but one that stood out for me was how Ranieri manages his players on and off the field. According to several stars, the former Chelsea manager lets them express on the pitch.
In this day and age where managers want a control over every single detail about his team, opponents and what the match is going to be like, Ranieri only focused on his team and what are their strong areas.
He never asked them to do things differently, all he asked of them was to maintain their fitness and fight for every inch out there on the pitch. One of football’s all time greats Johan Cruyff always mentioned how football is a simple game but playing simple football is the hardest thing possible.
Perhaps Leicester’s title triumph and Ranieri’s simple management style was was a fitting tribute to the great Johan Cruyff who left our world earlier this year. Some say that what Leicester achieved this season will never be replicated in coming years.
And when we see the number of rejected stars have been turned in to Champions, I can only concur with those people in accepting it as the greatest achievement in the history of sports, let alone just Football.