Leicester City have won the Premier League title in one of the greatest sporting stories of all time. Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Monday confirmed a stunning achievement for Claudio Ranieri’s side.
Leicester started the campaign as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title after almost being relegated last season.
But they have lost just three league games in what has been described as a “fairytale” and the “most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport”.
Closest challengers Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and last year’s champions Chelsea, have all failed to match the Foxes’ consistency across the season.
Former Leicester, Everton and England striker Gary Lineker described his hometown team’s achievement as “the biggest sporting shock of my lifetime”.
The Match of the Day presenter had suggested the Leicester players were on the “edge of sporting immortality” last month.
“I can’t think of anything that surpasses it in sporting history. It is difficult to put over in words.
“I got emotional. It was hard to breathe. I was a season ticket holder from the age of seven. This is actually impossible.”
After Leicester drew 1-1 at Manchester United on Sunday, Tottenham needed to win all three of their remaining league games to catch the Foxes.
But their title hopes were ended when they squandered a 2-0 lead to only draw at London rivals Chelsea.
Match of the Day pundit and former Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and England striker Alan Shearer said Leicester’s achievement was “the biggest thing ever in football”.
Shearer, who won the Premier League in 1995 with underdogs Blackburn, told Amira News Sport: “For a team like Leicester to come and take the giants on with their wealth and experience – not only take them on but to beat them – I think it’s the biggest thing to happen in football.”
Gianni Infantino, president of football’s world governing body Fifa, said Leicester’s “beautiful story” was a “fairytale”.
The club was also quick to hail the achievement of Ranieri and his players, saying they “have captured the imaginations of football fans around the world with one of the most brilliant and unlikely sporting triumphs ever seen”.
Sports data analysts say Leicester are set for a potential £150m boost for winning the title, coming from Premier League prize money, Champions League participation cash, and increased match-day revenues from ticket and hospitality sales.
‘A sporting miracle’
“In terms of domestic football, Leicester City winning the Premier League is the greatest achievement ever and I think it will never be surpassed,” former Leicester midfielder Robbie Savage told Amira News Sport.
“It is incredible. This is a turning point in Premier League history.”
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz said: “This is the greatest day in the history of this city. It’s the top, absolutely the top to win the English Premier League, the best league in the world. It’s a miracle and what Claudia Ranieri has done with this amazing team.”
Former Foxes manager Martin O’Neill, who led the club to their previous highest Premier League finish of eighth in 2000, said: “Not only is it a brilliant story, but it gives everyone that little bit of hope again that romance has not left football.
“It’s been the talk of Europe, there’s no question about that. Everything about this season has been remarkable.”
Snooker player Mark Selby, a Leicester fan, clinched his second World Championship title a little over 10 minutes after his hometown team won the Premier League crown. “To be Premier League champions is a fantastic achievement and I want to say well done to Claudio and the boys,” he said.
Even Prime Minister David Cameron passed on his congratulations, saying it was “an extraordinary, thoroughly deserved, Premier League title”.
And these are the 10 most discussed Leicester moments of the season on Twitter:
- Danny Welbeck scores a dramatic last-minute winner to give Arsenal a 2-1 win over Leicester – 51,000 tweets per minute (14 Feb, 2016).
- Jamie Vardy breaks the record for goals in consecutive Premier League games by scoring against Manchester United – 33,000 (28 Nov, 2015).
- Robert Huth scores his second to put Leicester 3-0 up at Manchester City – 31,000 (6 Feb, 2016).
- Riyad Mahrez puts Leicester 2-0 up against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium – 24,000 (6 Feb, 2016).
- Vardy puts Leicester 1-0 up from the spot against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium – 24,000 (14 Feb, 2016).
- Mahrez scores a wonder goal to put Leicester 2-0 up against Chelsea – 22,000 (14 Dec, 2015).
- Arsenal’s Theo Walcott equalises against Leicester with 20 minutes to play – 19,000 (14 Feb, 2016).
- Vardy opens the scoring for Leicester at the King Power against Chelsea – 18,000 (14 Dec, 2015).
- Vardy breaks away to put Leicester 2-0 up against Sunderland – 18,000 (10 Apr, 2015).
- West Ham shock the King Power with two goals in two minutes, before Leonardo Ulloa equalises with a controversial penalty at the end – 17,000 (17 Apr, 2016).
‘Jamie Vardy’s having a party’
The popular chant from Leicester fans – that striker Vardy “is having a party” – was never more true as the forward held a get-together at his home for team-mates to watch the Tottenham game.
Supporters also gathered outside the star’s home, while many more filled the city’s bars and pubs, or took to the streets to celebrate the historic moment.