Claudio Ranieri warns rivals his Leicester 'sons' will not be bought

It was the day after the wild night before, but Claudio Ranieri has admitted it could take another two years for him fully to appreciate the magnitude of Leicester City's Premier League title win.

Ranieri was still at Leicester's training ground signing autographs at 6pm on Tuesday after securing one of the greatest sporting upsets of all time, an inspirational triumph for the underdog which has captured the imagination of the world.

The manager was typically compelling as he reflected on the club's stunning season, pinpointing the 3-1 victory over Manchester City in February as the moment he felt Leicester were on the verge of something special, also warning that his "sons" are not for sale this summer.

The 64-year-old revealed he was "on the ceiling" of his London apartment celebrating Eden Hazard's wonderful equaliser against Tottenham Hotspur, the goal which handed Leicester the first top-flight title in their 132-year history.

But an emotional Ranieri was clearly struggling to comprehend how the unthinkable had become a reality in just nine months.

"All the people around the world are asking for Leicester, what happened, and this is a moment you have to leave for a little more time and taste slowly, like a good wine. Savour it," he said. "Maybe now it is too early to think about what we have done. Maybe one or two years could be better to understand, but now it is important to stay high in the world.

"The circumstances are very, very special. Without this, it is not possible to win the Premier League. When we beat Manchester City I started to believe something fantastic could happen. When we won there, maybe my players believed in something.

"Watching Chelsea on Monday I was at first on the armchair but after [the Hazard goal] on the ceiling!

"I am very happy to win because when you start as a manager you hope you can win some league. I won the most important league in Europe, I think, not just Europe but the world, the Premier League. It is a fantastic achievement, my career is fantastic but I want to achieve a little more if possible."

Ranieri is already preparing for next season in the Champions League and is expected to sign a new contract which will double his money to £3 million a year. He has made good players into superstars, including Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N'Golo Kanté, but has insisted his title-winning squad will not be broken up over the summer.

Kanté is understood to have a £20?million release clause and is attracting interest from Arsenal, Juventus and Paris St-Germain. There will inevitably be offers for the other miracle men yet Ranieri had a warning for those players, claiming it would be a retrograde step to leave the King Power Stadium.

"My phone will ring this summer but I will say: 'Do you have enough money to buy my players?' I would like to maintain all of them," he said. "But if one of my players says to me I want to go there, I try to keep him. I suggest to everybody this is a fantastic club, we won the title, we can do something good in a few years.

"If you go away you don't know what happens, here you are the king. It is much better to stay here one year more and look at what happens. Then maybe you can go anywhere.

"You maybe change a team and go in the big teams, maybe you don't start very well and stay outside the first XI, you slow down. It is important to choose very well for the lads because now for me as well the lads are my sons. If they come to me I say this, 'Be careful'."

Leicester will lift the trophy after Saturday's game against Everton, with captain Wes Morgan admitting he will struggle to hold back the tears. They will then finish the season with a guard of honour at Chelsea a week on Sunday, which promises to be another emotional afternoon for Ranieri.

He was sacked by Roman Abramovich in June 2004 and replaced by Jose Mourinho but will go back to Stamford Bridge as a Premier League champion. Surely a moment to savour? "I am satisfied of course but not in terms of 'It is revenge'. No, no, no. I am not a man who wants revenge. I know my job very well and sometimes maybe the owner wants to change you because you don't fit in with him," he said.

"I had and I will have a good relationship with Abramovich. Every time I came back to watch the Premier League I called the man of Abramovich and every time I was in the stand. It was fantastic."

Expectations will naturally rise in this particular part of the East Midlands and the stadium was a hive of activity on Tuesday, with TV crews from around the world and supporters flooding the streets. Ranieri and his players were taken to San Carlo, an Italian restaurant in the city centre, by Leicester's Thai owners and even the journey was memorable. Lee Chapman, a postman and a Jamie Vardy lookalike, was invited onto the coach to join the players.

Replica shirts sold out just after midday and bookmakers are facing the prospect of paying out £15?million after the title win. Leicester were given odds of 5,000-1 to claim the crown before a ball was kicked. Yet Ranieri was determined to restore calm ahead of next season, insisting another title win will be out of reach.

"We know very well the project was to build the team, make a good foundation and the first two years to be safe was our goal. Now of course we made a fantastic season but we have to bring this season and put outside and restart," he said.

"The foundations are solid, but the Champions League is very hard. It burns a lot of mental energy. For us it is important to stay in the 10th position around there and try to fight to go into Europe.

"The next 10 or 20 years will be the same and the more rich will win or who can pick up the best players to make a team."

Leicester's owners are planning to take the players to Thailand for another post-season tour later this month and this season's success continues a remarkable six years for the Srivaddhanaprabha family, who bought the club from Milan Mandaric for £39?million.

In 2014 Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the club chairman, had targeted a top-five finish within three years but cannot have envisaged such an extraordinary triumph. Vichai and his son Aiyawatt were both at Stamford Bridge to see Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, the game which clinched Leicester the title.

"He was already proud of being the owner of an English Premier League team. Now he has owned an English Premier League champion team, he can't be prouder," Aiyawatt said of his father. "I have to say on his behalf that he has managed the club with his heart and he just hopes to gain a reputation for the country." Leicester, and Ranieri, have done that emphatically.

- The Telegraph

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