Claudio Ranieri raised a glass of champagne in his first press conference as the manager of Premier League champions Leicester.
After being applauded into the room Ranieri, 64, spoke with the assembled media on Thursday ahead of Leicester’s clash with Everton this Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and online via Live Extra)
The Italian manager confirmed that legendary Opera singer Andrea Bocelli will perform before the game and, of course, after the Everton game captain Wes Morgan will lift the PL trophy.
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The Foxes, in case you’ve been living under a rock, won their first-ever top-flight title in 132 years as a club on Monday.
They were 5000-1 shots with the bookies at the start of the season and speaking on Thursday, Ranieri revealed he didn’t expect any of this when he took charge last summer at the King Power Stadium.
“Never could I have imagined this,” Ranieri said. We work so hard. Everyone does, but only one can win. This year it happened to me! It’s my karma. I’ve fought so hard to achieve so this is special. I want to thank my players, chairman, staff and fans. Our Chairman gives to us calmness and positivity. Never have I seen him nervous. That is important to me.
“To the fans. They were dreaming. I say dilly-ding,dilly-dong, they woke up and the dream was a reality.”
He then delivered a line which sums up his charismatic nature perfectly.
Ranieri was asked about his previous nickname “The Tinkerman” which was given to him at Chelsea for his constant lineup changes during his time in charge of the Blues from 2000-04.
“I am the Thinkerman, not Tinkerman!” Ranieri laughed.
Now that the “Thinkerman” has delivered one of the greatest sporting stories of all time, naturally plenty of questions have turned to which players well arrive and depart this summer as the Foxes prepare to play in the UEFA Champions League for the first-time in their history and also defend their crown.
“I don’t want big names,” Ranieri said. “I don’t want it in my dressing room. My lads are special. Who arrives must have the same spirit.”
What’s that Claudio, you want some spirits to go with your Champagne?
Fair enough, you’ve earned it…