The Foxes drew 1-1 with the La Liga giants at the King Power Stadium as Diego Simeone’s men qualify for the semi-finals winning 2-1 on aggregate
JAMIE VARDY and his fearless Foxes finally saw their epic Champions League adventure come to an end.
Despite Vardy’s strike giving Leicester a draw on the night, Atletico Madrid held on to win this epic quarter-final 2-1 on aggregate.
The English champs went out with their heads held high however, against a crack Spanish outfit who are now gunning for their third final in four years.
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Vardy became the first Englishman to score at this stage of the Champions’ League for five years, since Frank Lampard’s penalty against Benfica in 2012.
The England hitman said: “The lads can be proud of themselves. We definitely went down fighting. We gave it our all.
“They blocked a couple of efforts near the line that on another day might have gone in but it wasn’t to be. The fans have been non-stop throughout for us — it gave us a boost when we were tired.
“Now we have some unfinished business in the Premier League. We still need to pick up points.”
Atletico held a 1-0 advantage from the first leg and they doubled their lead after 26 minutes thanks to a superb header from Saul Niguez.
However Vardy levelled after an hour to get the King Power stadium rocking.
Although the Foxes still needed two goals to win, Atletico boss Diego Simeone admitted he feared the worst at times as his side wobbled.
He said: “I have to say what a great performance from Leicester, it was a pleasure to compete against them.
“They never gave up for one minute, they never let their heads drop.
“We were living in fear all night about what they might achieve as they kept coming forwards. They pushed us all the way.”
Craig Shakespeare now wants his team to use this season’s experience to push on and challenge to get back into Europe on a regular basis.
He confessed he wants to lead that charge next season and is ready to bring forward talks about his long-term future, if the club’s owners want him to.
“It’s not in my hands, it’s in the club’s hands,” he said. “I’ve said we’d sit down at the end of the season but I’m more than happy to do that before then if it arises. But the contract says until the end of the season.
“I’ve enjoyed it, pitting your wits against one of the best managers in the world and one of the best sides in the world.
“I hope the benefit from this campaign is the players want some more of it. They are very disappointed tonight but they can be proud of what they’ve achieved.
“As a football club we can be proud of how we’ve conducted ourselves. All players want to play at the highest level and the Champions League is the highest level. But first we have to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.”
Pundit Gary Lineker, a diehard Leicester fan, said: “What a thrilling finale they gave us. But after two years of pulling off football miracle after football miracle, they met their match in Atletico Madrid.”
Former Foxes boss Martin O’Neill told BT Sport: “It’s an extraordinary story, it’s not a fluke, you can’t fluke winning the league. Then to carry this on and win their group and knock out Sevilla before giving Atletico Madrid a real fright, it’s an incredible run, phenomenal.”