Claudio Ranieri must be on cloud nine at the moment.
Upon his arrival at Leicester City last summer, the vast majority of fans and pundits were quick to write off his credentials as a manager and insisted the Foxes had made a poor choice in hiring him.
Gary Lineker was one of such individuals to complain about his beloved club’s decision to bring in Ranieri, tweeting: “Claudio Ranieri? Really?”.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Put simply, the Italian wasn’t given even a glimmer of hope from the outset, with said fans and pundits also earmarking Leicester as favourites to face relegation after narrowly escaping the drop the previous campaign.
How they’ve all been made to eat their words.
Ten months on from his unveiling at the King Power Stadium and Ranieri has masterminded the biggest shock in Premier League history.
Leicester’s title success was confirmed on Monday night following Tottenham’s draw away to Chelsea, with euphoria and wild celebrations ensuing upon the full-time whistle at Stamford Bridge.
Three days on from Leicester’s confirmation as champions and everyone is still in disbelief at what they’ve achieved, with Ranieri receiving much praise for the incredible job he’s done in the East Midlands.
So much so, in fact, that the former Chelsea manager was greeted by a wonderful standing ovation by those present at his press conference on Thursday. Watch the touching video below.
It was a special occasion, with Ranieri being his typically friendly self and giving every journalist a handshake before taking questions. Glasses of champagne were also offered to the media as a wonderful gesture from the club.
And quite frankly, the Italian deserves everything he gets. To win the Premier League title is one thing, but to do so with a squad assembled on a shoe-string budget is remarkable.
Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante have been his stars - they cost Leicester a grand total of £7 million.
There’s a reasonable argument to make that Leicester have won the title in a campaign where England’s elite have largely underperformed, but that’s the hallmark of champions.
While Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have all struggled, Leicester have consistently ground out victories over those who would have brushed them aside last season.
A difficult summer awaits them, of course, but the Foxes must focus on the here and now. They host Everton at the King Power Stadium this Saturday and will be presented the Premier League trophy in front of their adoring fans regardless of the result. Who would have thought it.