Leicester's heroes

Leicester City have won the Premier League after a remarkable season that began with them 5000-1 outsiders and predicted by many to be relegated. Nine months later, manager Claudio Ranieri, his players and an entire city are celebrating. We look at the players, who made a seemingly impossible dream come true.

Illustrations by Martin Laksman
 Animation by Rich Hinchcliff

The last line of defence

Kasper Schmeichel

KEY STAT: 15 clean sheets -- T-1 in the Premier League
By now, everyone knows that Schmeichel's father, Peter, won five league titles with Manchester United, but Kasper has established himself as a fine goalkeeper in his own right. The 29-year-old Danish international has not missed a minute in the Premier League this season and provides a formidable barrier between opponents and Leicester's goal.

The dynamo

Danny Simpson

KEY STAT: +31 goal difference -- 2nd-best on team (Mahrez: +35)
As a right-back playing behind Riyad Mahrez, Simpson provides his creative colleague with the security of knowing all is well behind him, as well as getting up the flank to provide support in attack. The 29-year-old began his career at Manchester United and played for Queens Park Rangers before joining Leicester in 2014.

The rock

Robert Huth

KEY STAT: 114 aerial duels won -- 5th in the Premier League
Huth is the only Leicester player to have previously won the Premier League, though his was a somewhat minor role in Chelsea's 2004-05 and 2005-06 triumphs. A decade later, the 31-year-old has been nothing but solid at the back all season. At the other end, he scored the winning goal at Tottenham in January and then, the following month, netted two at Manchester City.

The captain

Wes Morgan

KEY STAT: 39 blocked shots -- T-3 in the Premier League
In 2012, after 10 years at Nottingham Forest, Morgan made the 30-mile journey south to Leicester, where he was named captain after his first season at the club. His first Premier League game did not come until he was 30, but the durable defender has made the step up. Like Schmeichel, Morgan has been on the pitch for every minute of his club's title-winning campaign.

The NFL hopeful

Christian Fuchs

KEY STAT: 73 tackles -- T-4 among Premier League defenders
Yes, you read that right! Not content with a career at the top level of one sport, the Austrian, whose family lives in New York City, fancies his chances as a kicker in the other "football" -- not that Leicester fans will be keen to see him go. Fuchs signed on a free transfer before the season and quickly made the left-back position his own.

The comeback kid

Marc Albrighton

KEY STAT: 268 crosses -- 1st in Premier League (52 completed: 5th)
To think that two years ago, Albrighton was released by Aston Villa, where he had spent 15 years as a boy and man. Fast-forward to the present day and he is celebrating as a league champion while his former club prepares for life in the Championship. The 26-year-old's previous claim to fame was scoring the 20,000th goal in Premier League history.

The heartbeat

Danny Drinkwater

KEY STAT: 2,420 total touches -- leads team; 13th in Premier League
Like Simpson, Drinkwater came through the youth ranks at Manchester United before leaving Old Trafford in pursuit of regular football. Now in his fifth season at the King Power Stadium, the midfielder plays a vital role in knitting together play between defence and attack. His consistent displays have also put him in contention for England's Euro 2016 squad.

The engine room

N'Golo Kante

KEY STAT: 148 interceptions, 115 tackles -- leads Premier League
When Kante was signed from Caen before the season began, little was expected of the hitherto unknown Frenchman. Since then, he has run and run and run, providing formidable protection to Leicester's defence with a remarkable propensity to cover ground and showing no little passing ability. His form has earned him an international debut and made him a household name.

The magician

Riyad Mahrez

KEY STAT: 11 assists -- leads team, T-3 in Premier League
If any doubt remained as to Mahrez's impact this season, it vanished when he was named the league's player of the season by his fellow professionals. The Algerian was playing in the second tier of French football just three years ago but now, after a spectacular season in which he has scored 17 goals and added 11 assists, he could be set for superstardom.

The energy

Shinji Okazaki

KEY STAT: 47 fouls suffered -- 2nd-most behind Mahrez (78)
Okazaki's primary role all season has been to occupy defenders and create space for others before giving way to a substitute after around an hour. But there is more to his game and never was that more in evidence than against Newcastle in March, when his superb overhead kick earned Leicester three more vital points on the title trail.

The goal machine

Jamie Vardy

KEY STAT: Goal in 11 straight games -- Aug. 29-Nov. 28; league record
As with so many of his teammates, Vardy's rise to the top has been unconventional. A non-league player until his mid-20s and involved in his fair share of controversy throughout his career, this season the striker has found his best form this season, scoring 22 goals. Offering pace and directness that unsettles defenders, his cutting edge has been fundamental to Leicester's success.

The able deputy

Leonardo Ulloa

KEY STAT: Four wins, one draw -- team unbeaten when Ulloa scores
After being used as a successful impact substitute for the majority of the season, Ulloa got his chance to start when Vardy was suspended for key games in April and May. Two goals followed in a win against Swansea before the Argentine ran tirelessly in the draw at Man United, which put Leicester on the brink of glory.

The sub turned starter

Jeff Schlupp

KEY STAT: 79.5 tackle percentage -- 2nd-best behind Morgan (83.8)
He was a regular starter in the early part of the season, before being sidelined by a hamstring injury in December. His role changed when he returned -- he had to be content with six straight substitute appearances -- but in addition to Ulloa, Vardy's ban benefited the speedy Schlupp, who started against Swansea and Man United.

The stalwart

Andy King

KEY STAT: Scored with his only shot on goal (vs. West Brom)
Released by Chelsea at the age of 15, King has been at Leicester ever since. The midfielder has played for the Foxes in three different divisions and is the club's sole survivor from a season spent in League One back in 2008-09. His role this season has been largely as a reliable substitute off the bench.

More Stories