On Sunday, one of football's biggest miracles can occur. Leicester can actually beat Arsenal, ManU, City, Chelsea, Liverpool AND Tottenham for the Premiership title. There's only one word for it: Unbelievable. Talk about a surprise package. There have been lots of previous fairy tales in football before, for instance Montpellier in France, AZ or Twente in Netherlands and Wolfsburg or Kaiserslautern in Germany, but this is one damn special. Let me tell you why.
Sure, all the aforementioned teams had a bit of luck and did some smart transfer deals, same with Leicester. They dug out some tight 1-0 wins and Vardy/Mahrez/Kanté have been revelations for sure. But the difference with this Leicester side is they overtrump a lot of powerful and rich teams like Chelsea and both Manchester sides. Sides who have a ton-load to spend thanks to their sugar daddies and TV rights. In France there's only PSG, in Germany Bayern, and the Eredivisie from Netherlands doesn't have the same reputation as the EPL from England.
Valencia and Atletico won the Spanish title, beating Real and Barca, but that's not the same, as both teams have quite a history and were not so small names in their country. Leicester were on the brink of relegation last season and even last-placed in January. One good summer is all they needed to achieve this greatness. What a blow for Arsenal, Tottenham, United and City, who invested hard in their players. Money can't buy happiness after all.
And therefore it's now time to celebrate the founder of this success: Claudio Ranieri. A Roman. His tinkering seems long gone, he used a tried and tested 4-4-2 this season and rarely changed the formula. Vardy, Mahrez, Kanté, Drinkwater, Schmeichel, Huth, Morgan, Simpson,... People could always predict the line-up, simply because it is the best Leicester could offer.
Giallorossi fans will always remember Claudio for his impact on Serie A in the season 2009-2010. Hero and Coppa winner Luciano Spalletti just left and Ranieri was brought in. Fans thought 2009-2010 would become a transitional year, they didn't expect a lot of fireworks, just hoping for a European place at best. But what happened afterwards was an unbelievable rollercoaster ride, AS Roma pur sang. Juventus was still a spectator, and back then Mourinho's Inter was the bee's knees, they even won the Champions League thanks to players like Milito, Eto'o, Sneijder, Cambiasso, Maicon and Zanetti.
Yet Ranieri, as with Leicester, made the players believe in themselves and made them perform outstandingly, especially in the second part of the campaign. Who doesn't remember Julio Sergio, Riise, Burdisso, Taddei, Pizarro, Cassetti, Perrotta and Vucinic? Eventually Inter won the Scudetto with only 2 points difference. They narrowly beat Siena 1-0 at the final match day, Roma won against Chievo 2-0 but that wasn't enough--too bad, it would have been one of Serie A's biggest comebacks.
It's only logical we at CDT honor Claudio and congratulate him with winning the EPL title (it will happen, whether they win this weekend or not, they won't give it away). During Ranieri's long career he was always considered a loser, never a winner. He managed teams like Chelsea, Valencia, Fiorentina, Juventus, Atletico but his trophy cabinet looks pretty meagre; people like Mourinho always confronted him with that, even though they didn't have the right to.
Justice has been served! Finally. This title is mostly Ranieri's work. Determination, passion, a man who can get inside the heads of players, makes them believe they can achieve great things. A motivator. A warm man. I hope we'll meet his Leicester side in the Champions League next season. And I'm sure it won't be an easy task for Spalletti to beat the Tinker Man.
Enjoy it Claudio, you've earned. Although I personally, as a Giallorosso, will always put our '09-'10 comeback above this title.