Leicester: Leicester City head coach Claudio Ranieri made an emotional phone call to Chelsea’s interim chief coach Guus Hiddink to thank his side for gifting the English Premier League (EPL) football title.
Claudio Ranieri. Pic/ AFP
Tottenham Hotspur who were also in the title race were knocked out of it as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Hiddink’s men at the Stamford Bridge on Monday night. Leicester are now seven points clear at the top with only two rounds of games to go.
As soon as Eden Hazard equalised for the Blues in the 83rd minute of the contest, the whole stadium began to sing Ranieri’s name.
“Just after the final whistle, a few minutes after the judo, I got a call from Ranieri. He thanked us especially for what we did in the second half and I congratulated him for being champions. They deserved it, it may be a bit of a shock for the established clubs that they did so well,” Hiddink was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
"They didn’t implode, there was no tension when they started smelling the title. I didn’t see any tears because it was not a Facetime conversation but his voice was trembling a bit. He said five times thanks. His emotion was going up.”
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino also congratulated the Foxes for winning the title.
“First of all I want to congratulate Leicester, Ranieri, the players and the staff and of course the supporters. They had a great season, they deserve the title. I’m disappointed because we fought to be in the race,” Pochettino said.
"We’re disappointed but at the same time I’m proud of my players, the season was fantastic and we will still fight for second place.”
Jose Mourinho, who lifted the trophy with Chelsea last season before departing the club in December after a dismal run of form, has lauded Ranieri, whom he replaced at the Blues in 2004.
Portuguese coach paid homage to the efforts of every member of the Foxes' squad.
He told CAA Sports: "I want to congratulate everyone connected to Leicester; players, staff, owners and fans.
"I lost my title to Claudio Ranieri and it is with incredible emotion that I live this magic moment in his career."