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No ones wanting Leicester

By March 16, 2017No Comments

Leicester and England great Peter Shilton believes the giants of European football will all want to avoid the Foxes in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The East Midlands outfit are the last English team left in the competition after Manchester City were knocked out by Monaco on Wednesday.

Craig Shakespeare’s side will discover their next opponents in Friday’s draw after they beat Sevilla 3-2 on aggregate following a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Monaco and Borussia Dortmund have been European champions 24 times between them and are all possible opponents for debutants Leicester.

Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon and Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane have already said they do not want to face the Foxes and former goalkeeper Shilton, England’s record appearance holder, understands that point of view.

“It’s what teams will think. They’re going to cause problems to anyone they play,” Shilton, who played 339 times for his home-town club, told Press Association Sport.

“It’s not going to be easy but they are through to the quarter-finals and anyone who is there can win it. But you’re not going to start shouting from the rooftops and saying they definitely will because there are too many wonderful sides.

“I hope they get Real or Barcelona, the fans will want to see that. They have done the country proud.

“Obviously it hasn’t been a great season up until now, it was the heights of utopia to the depths of despair in three-quarters of a season and everyone was shaking their heads. To get into the quarter-finals is a terrific achievement and anything more would be a dream.”

Shilton won the European Cup with Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980 but stopped short of comparing those sides to Leicester.

He said: “What Leicester did last season was superb but you can’t compare the teams, it would be unfair. We also won two European Cups and two League Cups but it’s just great Leicester, after such a poor start, have got themelves back on the up.”

The 67-year-old was at the Sevilla game and saw Kasper Schmeichel save Steven N’Zonzi’s second-half penalty which effectively sealed Leicester’s progress after goals from Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton.

He and wife Stephanie also met the Danish goalkeeper for the first time after the game, and Shilton believes Schmeichel is key to the Foxes.

“He is a top keeper, he has a lot of confidence and he makes match-winning saves,” said Shilton.

“We were with Peter (Schmeichel) and he said to come down and we’d meet Kasper. It was the first time I’d met him, he was so humble.

“Steph asked if it was possible to take a photo and we had pictures with him, Peter, the chairman came down and Jamie Vardy. Steph’s Facebook is quite full now!”