Thursday December 29th, 2016

It was the best sports story of 2016—and perhaps of the 21st century so far. Lightly regarded Leicester City, which had required a near-miracle to avoid relegation from the Premier League in the previous season, was a 5,000-to-1 shot to win the league in 2015-16. Upsets happen all the time in the Premier League when it comes to single games, but the title-winners in the Premier League era over 38 games have always been the wealthiest clubs. A championship by a team as humble as Leicester seemed unconscionable.

Yet somehow it happened. With a mix of talent, chemistry and sound counter-attacking strategy, Leicester made a run for the ages. Jamie Vardy, who had been playing in semipro leagues only a few years earlier, became one of the most reliable goal-scorers in the Premier League. Riyad Mahrez turned into a lethal attacking threat, while N’Golo Kanté established supremacy covering acres of space in the midfield. First-year manager Claudio Ranieri, a genuinely nice Italian man, finally won a trophy by showing restraint in the changes he made to a team nobody expected to challenge for the top.

Leicester’s struggles in the 2016-17 season only serve to show its title was a truly singular event. When the Italian Andea Bocelli sang for Leicester on the day it won the trophy, it was impossible to keep a dry eye. These Foxes had achieved the unthinkable. 

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