Christian Fuchs

Fuchs’ Emotional Message For The Blue Army

“It’s been the best time of my playing career.” – That’s how Christian Fuchs recalls his magical six years at Leicester City Football Club.
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Later this summer, at the end of 2020/21, the gregarious Austrian will call an emotional end to his spell as a Fox and head to the United States to be closer to his family in New York City.

A key figure of the Club’s immortal 2016 Premier League title-winning squad, Fuchs leaves Leicester City as a lifelong member of the Foxes family. By his own admission, though, the former Schalke full-back didn’t expect his stay to be as long, or as successful, when he joined the Club back in 2015.

Captain of his country at the time and a familiar name to followers of the UEFA Champions League, Fuchs thought his career at the top table of European football was over.

“Let’s start from the beginning,” he says at LCFC Training Ground in Seagrave, reflecting on his Foxes journey. “I was released at Schalke, a top club in the German Bundesliga at the time, and the next stop was Leicester City, a team that had barely escaped relegation.

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Christian Fuchs

Christian Fuchs signed for the Club shortly before the arrival of Claudio Ranieri as manager.

“I thought that was me done playing in a top six of a league on a constant basis. But no, it turned out completely different! I definitely didn’t expect that this would be the best time of my career.

“The best time was still ahead after I had already played on a pretty high level with Schalke. I think that also speaks about my time here at Leicester for myself.

“I came to a club where you’d probably assume, for the next couple of years, you’ll be fighting relegation, maybe eventually playing in mid-table if the team improved. But it went completely upside down and I’m very, very happy with that choice to join Leicester City!

“It was very unexpected, but we’ve played at a very high level, always with the desire of the owners to improve the Club, trying to get better every year we were working together. I’m looking back without any regrets, looking back very proud, and I have a big smile on my face. It has definitely been the best six years of my career.”

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Christian Fuchs

The Austrian made his debut for the Foxes in a 2-1 win at Norwich City in October 2015 - the start of a 10-game unbeaten run, including nine league wins.

Although Fuchs didn’t actually immediately break into Claudio Ranieri’s starting XI in 2015/16, it was only a matter of weeks before he became a mainstay of the side – just as the stars shifted position in the night sky and started to align for Leicester City.

By the end of his maiden campaign in England, which he expected to be a struggle, the Foxes had won 23 league fixtures, losing just three times, to defy pre-season odds of 5,000/1 and become the most gloriously unexpected Premier League champions in history.

A delirious season culminated not on a football pitch, but in Jamie Vardy’s kitchen, as members of the squad huddled around a TV screen to see if a point won the previous day against Manchester United at Old Trafford would be enough to complete the fairy-tale.

As the history books will testify, Chelsea denied Tottenham Hotspur the three points they craved at Stamford Bridge to keep the title race alive. With two games to spare, Leicester City were the newest name to be carved onto the world-famous Premier League trophy.

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Christian Fuchs

Delight at Jamie Vardy's house as Leicester City's status as English champions is confirmed.

“I was immensely proud, I’m still proud,” Fuchs reminisces. “We achieved something that will now be in the history books forever. A lot of people world-wide were talking about us.

“If you’re not proud of achieving something like that, I don’t know what else you can be proud of. I think what stands outs from that time is the video we shot in Vards’ house when Chelsea did us a big favour with the draw against Tottenham.

“Those emotions you see in that video are real. We were there screaming for an hour! Just screaming. We couldn’t believe what had happened. I will always be proud.”

A week later, a global audience of billions tuned in as Andrea Bocelli provided the soundtrack to the Club’s greatest day. Everton were the guests, offering a Guard of Honour for the new champions, before Ranieri and Wes Morgan presented the trophy to the heavens.

“That day, overall, sums it up,” the Foxes legend continues. “That was the highlight of everybody’s career, lifting the trophy… the overall season, that’s the standout moment.

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Andrea Bocelli

The whole occasion when City lifted the title was overwhelming for Christian Fuchs and his team-mates.

“We had the highlight of lifting the trophy after the Everton game and there are so many good memories, on the pitch, off the pitch. Just recently, qualifying for Europe, being in the top six, winning the FA Cup, these are amazing moments for everybody as well.

“One thing I’ve always said about Leicester fans is that when you’re in the stadium, it’s always such a positive support. The players need that as a player. I spoke to a lot of friends that didn’t want to come to King Power Stadium at first, but I convinced them to come.

“I told them about the atmosphere, and they came from the US over to watch the games and they have all been positively surprised by how pleasant it is at King Power Stadium, how great the support is. The atmosphere is simply unique in England.”

City’s reward for that title was an appearance in the Champions League – the platinum club competition on the continent – as Foxes fans revelled in trips to Bruges, Copenhagen, Porto, Seville and Madrid across a nine-month European tour they never expected would happen.

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Christian Fuchs

'Toasting' the success with manager Claudio Ranieri during the post-match press conference.

Despite battling against some of the most celebrated teams in the game, Leicester finished top of their group and reached the quarter-finals, eventually falling one away goal short of the last-four.

“I think there were some people out there trying to collect signatures for Leicester not to compete in the Champions League,” Fuchs says, chuckling to himself. “There was a movement like that. All I know is that people were worried we’d embarrass them.

“And then we’re the last Premier League club in the Champions League! Everybody else, even Man City, got knocked out before us. Being the last Premier League club, holding the flag high, that’s something you can also be proud of.

“We gave it a really good go. It took Atlético Madrid to knock us out!”

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Christian Fuchs

Leicester's Premier League victory granted entry to the UEFA Champions League, where the Foxes who sample more unforgettable occasions.

Fuchs didn’t score often for the Foxes, but when he did, they were usually spectacular. Although he netted arguably bigger goals for the Club, his favourite is a stunner against Fleetwood Town in the Carabao Cup back in 2018, although he has an admission to make.

“The first goal you score is always a special one,” he adds. “It was against Crystal Palace and that was a nice one, but my favourite one is the one against Fleetwood. I think the technique… well, my eyes were closed! So, I didn’t even know where the ball was!

“I just saw the ball flying and then it was a good feeling when it hit the net!”

In the assists stakes, surely there’s only one contender for his favourite? It has to be the perfectly executed no-look pass which threaded the ball through to Vardy to net in an 11th consecutive top-flight game, surpassing a record previously held by Ruud van Nistelrooy.

When asked to name his standout assist, he says: “I hit Wes’ head amazingly against Southampton with the cross, it was a great cross! Is that the one you’re referring to?!

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Christian Fuchs

The former Schalke full-back has continued to be a key figure under Brendan Rodgers.

“Of course, it’s Vardy’s 11th goal! I had the same problem again, I didn’t look at the ball! It was a special moment. I was very happy for Vards, but the thing about that goal was more about how the team came together afterwards, genuinely being happy for Vards.

“We came together and we were so happy he achieved that record. It was another outstanding moment in an outstanding season for us.”

More recently, Fuchs has helped Ben Chilwell and then James Justin thrive at left-back for the Foxes in a supporting role, always stepping up impressively when called upon. No doubt, too, that another Academy graduate, Luke Thomas, has benefitted greatly from working with Fuchs on the training pitch.

He’s had several opportunities to leave, but always jumped at the chance to stay another year.

It’s time, though, for his playing days at the Club to come to an end. After prolonging his Leicester City journey for longer than expected, Fuchs is now looking forward to spending more time with his family, who live in New York City.

“I don’t really want to leave,” he admits. “It’s been the best time of my playing career over here with the Foxes. At the same time, I never made a secret of what my end goal is and where I want to be. I’m trying to get to my family as soon as possible.

“My wife knew that she had to share me with Leicester City. Meanwhile, she supported me all the time when I was signing for another year and another year and another year.

“Honestly, it’s been very tough over such a big distance with children and everything. I don’t really want to say goodbye, but on the same side, I’m looking forward to finally being a normal father with my family, to spend some time with them and to see my kids grow up.”

Leicester City, though, have a new supporter in Fuchs, who will watch on avidly from afar to see how the Foxes fare over the years to come under the management of Brendan Rodgers.

The future is bright for the newly crowned FA Cup winners, Fuchs believes, and the Austrian will be keeping a watchful eye over their progress from the United States.

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Christian Fuchs

Christian Fuchs' time at the Club ended with a magnificent Emirates FA Cup success - Leicester City's first-ever in the competition.

“Leicester need to continue improving,” he explains. “There’s still a lot of room for improvement moving forward. We’re doing a lot of things right, playing great football.

“You’re trying to transition from a team that won the Premier League on transition football, to a team that controls the game and looks to dominate possession. That has been nice to see. It has taught me, as a player, a lot of things as well under Brendan Rodgers.

“Especially, with the young players coming through… look at our team, we’re a young team. They all have years to go and, if they stick together and keep improving and working hard, there’s really a bright future for Leicester.

“We have dropped points that hurt, but you can only improve your game when you make mistakes and the boys are eager to do that. Brendan is definitely on top of them for next season. I’m really looking forward to watching Leicester next season from the US.”

It’s so long to Christian Fuchs, not farewell, but he had one final message for the supporters who would sing his name in the stands – sometimes even bellowing it just as he would get in range of the opposition goal – throughout his six-year association with the Club.

“All I want to say is that I’m not a person who wants to say goodbye, not at all,” he says. “I’m very convinced our paths will cross several times in the future. I feel very connected to the Club, so see you later!”

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