Thursday 17 January 2019

Emotional Ranieri tribute at Bridge

Chelsea 1 Leicester 1

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri. Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri. Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Matt McGeehan Roman Abramovich congratulated Claudio Ranieri on Leicester's Premier League title success, but the reality is still sinking in for the Foxes boss.

Chelsea owner Abramovich, who sacked Ranieri in 2004, greeted the Italian before Sunday's 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, which was preceded by a guard of honour for the Foxes.

"The emotions were at the maximum, because there was a fantastic welcome back, a warm welcome back from everybody," Ranieri said. "From the owner, Roman Abramovich, I met him here, and when I went out (on to the pitch), our fans, also the Chelsea fans. "It was an amazing moment for me, at the beginning (of the game), also at the end."

Asked what Abramovich said to him, Ranieri said: "'Welcome champions'. It was very warm." Chelsea had a decisive say in anointing their successors as champions. Eden Hazard's goal 13 days ago earning a draw with Tottenham which ended Spurs' hopes. And Leicester will play Champions League football next season, after Monday's open-top bus tour and a post-season trip to Thailand. Ranieri said: "After we have a break. And then I can realise what happened this season. Maybe."

Leicester fought back from a goal down, to Cesc Fabregas' penalty, to draw when Danny Drinkwater drilled in an equaliser eight minutes from time. Meanwhile, John Terry spoke of his desire to stay at Chelsea after the final whistle, but did not declare whether or not he will be staying next season. The 35-year-old defender has made 703 appearances since his debut in October 1998 and was offered a one-year contract extension and is considering the offer. "We all want the same thing," said Terry. "I want to stay. The club knows that, the fans know that."

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