Yesterday I planned to sit down and write about the Leicester City being eliminated from the Champions League by Atlético Madrid, but I just didn't have the heart right away. It’s a good thing too, because it would've just been some retrodden “don't cry because it’s over” story that you could see anywhere right now. Instead I went to bed and in the morning I looked at some headlines from major news outlets.
Leicester City Football Club’s CL dream ends - Sky Sports
End of the dream - The Telegraph
Brave Leicester reach end of adventure - Guardian
LCFC Champions League dream ends - Fosse Posse
Leicester ‘proud’ as UCL dream ends - ESPN
Anyone notice a theme?
Don’t get me wrong, we’re out. It’s not that I’m accepting that. Madrid were simply too good in the end. They’re an amazing team, I love what they’ve done and I honestly hope they go on to finally win it all. For the Foxes, this season’s Champions League campaign is over. We’re also mathematically eliminated from competing in Europe next year too. I just don't understand why that means the journey is over.
The dream didn’t end in Seville, just like it didn't in Porto, or with the disastrous start to the season against Hull. A 13-game winless streak that left us stranded, seemingly without hope of survival, failed to end the journey. So did heart breaking playoff losses to Watford and Cardiff. Within the last 10 years, the Foxes were relegated to the lowest point in their history, but the adventure wasn't over.
Ten years out of the Premier League didn’t stop us and the BBC headline “Red Star end Leicester dreams” proved to be false. The incredible story of this team was not stopped by a loss to Atlético Madrid in the very first round of the UEFA Cup, so why on earth would a quarterfinal in the Champions League?
It’s true, Leicester City have only achieved European qualification four times. Three of those ended with losses to the same team and I’m just not ready or willing to say that that’s it. We will play them again and one day we will beat them.
We have to start with a backwards step; I can see why people don’t like that. Sometimes that’s just what it takes to build something even better. We lost Esteban Cambiasso and we got better. N’golo Kante left and we stamped our mark on the world’s best club competition. This is only our third year back in the big time and there’s really no telling how good this team can be.
Just look at that second half. We were the better team against on of the world’s best. The great things this team has done do not have to end here, by any means. It won’t be next year, probably not the year after that, but whether it takes two years to 20 — I believe this team can be back at that level again.
A wonderful, charming man once told me to keep dreaming, and I intend to do just that.