Leicester City is close to realizing the greatest feat of modern football, one of those who made too many decades not remembered. With a group of players away from the renowned but with a spirit and motivation not seen in recent years, the modest English club is poised to win the Premier League over multimillionaires like Manchester City, el United, Chelsea, Arsenal o Tottenham. And the image of this feat over the main protagonists as Vardy, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Schmeichel, Kanté and the long list of excellent players who have, It is the veteran Claudio Ranieri coach.
The image of veteran trainer, of 64 years, with decades of football behind him weeping with emotion on the pitch after the win against Sunderland and Leicester putting the dream close, says it all. The history of the Italian, known in Spain by its passage by Valencia, It is the story of that life sometimes gives second and third chances. When nobody expected, the general old Roman seems that whatever happens will enter the front door of football history with a miracle unmatched.
An emotion that the coach himself shares with some loyal fans that life is expected to see something like. A miracle that unfortunately in Spain are far, millions of light years, to be viewed. The current system, and grabbing two great teams make just as much potential Atletico, a step above the rest but away economically from the two great, can give machada. Ranieri himself wrote an emotional letter to his hobby that has been around the world and you moved.
We do not dream
I remember my first meeting with President, When I arrived in the summer to Leicester City. He sat down with me and told me: «Claudio, This is a very important year for the club. It is very important for us to continue in the Premier League. We must be saved ".
My answer was: "Of course. We will work hard in training and try to achieve '. forty points. That was the goal. That was all we needed to stay in first division to give fans another season in the Premier League.
At the time, I could not even dream that would open the newspaper 4 April and see to Leicester at the top of the standings with 69 points. The same day last year, the club was last.
I have 64 years, so I do not get out much. My wife takes me forty years, so on my days off, I try to be with her. We leave the lake next to our house or, If we are eager, We see a movie. But lately, I could not shut out the noise coming from around the world. It is impossible to ignore. I heard that we even have new fans in America.
I have a message for you: Welcome to the club. We are pleased to have you with us. I enjoy the way we play football and I want to love my players because its route is amazing.
At this stage, perhaps you've heard their names. Players who were considered too low or too slow for other big clubs. N'Golo Kanté. Jamie Vardy. Wes Morgan. Danny Drinkwater. Riyad Mahrez. When I ran my first workout and saw the quality of these players, I knew how good they could become.
I knew we had a chance to survive in the Premier League. This player, Kanté, I ran so much that I thought I should bring a complete package of batteries hidden in his pants. He never stops running in training.
I had to tell: «Hey, N'Golo, loosens. loosens. Do not run behind each ball, ¿vale?»
Answered me: "Yes, boss. Yes. Vale».
Ten seconds later, I looked back and was running again. I told: "One day, I'll see you center the ball and finish it yourself ".
It's amazing but it's not the only key. There are many clues in this incredible season. Jamie Vardy, for example. Not a footballer. It's a fantastic horse. You need to feel free when on the lawn. I tell him: "You're free to move around as you like but you must help us when we lose the ball. That's all I ask. If you start pushing rival, all your friends follow you '.
Before playing the first game of the season, I told the players: "I want to play for their peers. We are a small team, so we have to fight with all our heart, with all our soul. I do not mind the name rival. All I want is to fight. If they are better than us, good, Congratulations. But they have to prove they are better ".
Since the first day, There was a fantastic electricity in Leicester. It starts with the president and reaches players, staff and fans. It's amazing what I felt. En el King Power Stadium, There was an amazing energy. Do the fans only sing when we have the ball? Oh, no, no, no. When we are under pressure, fans understand our pain and sing the most. They understand the complexity of the game and when players are suffering. They are very, very close to us.
We started the season well. But our goal, I repeat it, It was to save the club from relegation. The first nine games were winning too many goals but concedíamos. We had to score two or three goals to win each match. I was very concerned.
Before each game, I was saying: "Let's go, Boys, we go. Today we leave a clean sheet ".
But nothing. I tried to motivate all forms.
So, Finally, before the game against Crystal Palace, said: "Let's go, Boys, we go. If we keep a clean sheet, I invite pizza ".
Of course, My players gave a clean sheet against Crystal Palace. 1-0. So I kept our agreement and I took my players to Peter Pizzeria on Leicester City Square. But he had prepared a surprise. I told them: "They have to work to accomplish anything. So also work for pizza. We will make our own pizza ".
So we went to the kitchen with the dough and cheese and sauce. We made our own dough. It was very good, also. I ate many pieces. What can I say? I'm italian. I love the pizza and pasta.
Now let's clean sheet often. A dozen times after the pizza, in fact. I do not think it's a coincidence.
We have six games and we must continue to fight with our heart and our soul. This is a small club that is showing the world what can be achieved with spirit and determination. twenty-six players. Twenty-six different brains. But only a heart.
few years ago, many of my players were in the lower divisions. Vardy worked in a factory. Kanté was on the third French division. And in the fourth Mahrez.
We are now fighting for a title. Leicester fans I meet on the street tell me they are dreaming. But I reply: «Vale, dream for us. We do not dream. Just we work hard '.
No matter what happens at the end of season, I think our story is important for all football fans around the world. We are giving hope to all young players who have ever been told they were not good enough.
Now they can tell themselves: "How I can get to the elite? If Vardy can do, If Kanté can do, maybe I can too '.
What you need to get?
A great name? No.
A big contract? No.
You only need to open the mind, open your heart, a battery charged and running freely.
Who knows, maybe end of season, we're both eating pizza.