SPORT-LEICESTER 2

first_imgAt times, club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha seemed At times, club chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha seemed to hold onto the trophy longer than his players on the field as he was followed by a picture of the Thai king. “I always believed in the power of our spirit,” he wrote in yesterdays matchday magazine. “It is a spirit that has spread beyond Leicester, taking our story to the hearts of the world.” Thousands of fans gathered outside the stadium more than four hours before kickoff, before a deluge washed out the sunshine. Hundreds of Italians also traveled by bus and plane to Leicester without tickets just to be part of a story that has enthralled the world beyond football fans. They have been captivated by how compatriot Claudio Ranieri turned the team into Englands first first-time champions since promoted Nottingham Forests 1978 success — an era before the financial disparities were so vast. The most famous Italian at the celebrations was tenor Andrea Bocelli, who serenaded Ranieri on the field before the game to sing “Nessun Dorma,” the aria popularised in England during the 1990 World Cup. “The cameras want to see if you cry,” Ranieri later recalled thinking. “Today I said, No. But emotions inside me were at the top … I tried to stay calm without the emotion.” Ranieris managerial career has taken in some of Europes biggest clubs from Juventus to Chelsea but only at Leicester with its modest budget has he become a title winner. For the crowning moment of his career, Ranieri was joined by family, friends, and former players. “Hes always been a calm manager in all circumstances, both when the team is doing well and when theyre not,” Vittorio Pusceddu, who played for Ranieri at Napoli and Fiorentina in the 1990s, said as he walked through Leicester to the stadium in the afternoon sun. “A manager has to do that, he has to instill calm in the environment. Hes very good at that and thats what happened (at Leicester).” MORE AP SSC SSCadvertisementlast_img

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