The King Power Stadium was in full voice. Jamie Vardy was at the epicentre. Gary Lineker was in a state of euphoria. And Leicester City were producing another giant-killing. It was like the capitulation from the most stunning Premier League season in living memory had never happened. A penny for Claudio Ranieri's thoughts.

As with Barcelona's stunning comeback to oust Paris Saint-Germain a week ago, the Foxes' own success comes with a huge dollop of subtext. Against the backdrop of the champions becoming the first English side to reach the last eight is not just the unsatisfactory circumstances surrounding Ranieri's exit, but the way the squad's performances have U-turned like a Conservative budget pledge.

Leicester are unrecognisable from the side that, prior to the Italian's untimely sacking, had won just 11 matches all season. The verve, intensity and desire has returned – gushing like a water hydrant – and opponents have been swept aside. Liverpool, Hull City and Sevilla have been drowned by the belated rediscovery of the Leicester identity.

Vardy is the epitome of this mid-season personality shift. The England striker, much like Gary Neville demanded, has gone from the embodiment of a maligned Premier League forward to naughty non-league whizz-kid. The 30-year-old was at his nasty, irritating best against Sevilla; biting into tackles, troubling centre-backs and defending from the front.

Leicester City
Leicester became the first English side to reach the Champions League quarter-finals - but at what cost? Getty Images

For an individual who can switch from pampered pro to filthy forward so seamlessly, the poor calibration of Vardy's moral compass is no surprise. His pathetic reaction to being confronted by the equally petulant Samir Nasri displayed everything you need to know about Leicester's mindset; desperate and cowardly, but underlined by an insatiable appetite to win that ignores ethical boundaries.

Sadly, much in the same way Luis Suarez' dive to win a stoppage time penalty at the Nou Camp has been overshadowed, Vardy's peevish act has been largely disregarded. Once again, the narrative is too irresistible – despite the facts which lie underneath. Sound familiar?

Samir Nasri
Nasri's red card for confronting Vardy swung the tie firmly in Leicester's favour. Getty Images

Craig Shakespeare is one of the beneficiaries of Leicester's about-turn. That he joins Sir Bobby Robson and Harry Redknapp in becoming only the third English coach to reach the Champions League quarter-finals says as much about the substantial change of ethos he has inherited as it does his abilities as a manager.

Shakespeare should not escape criticism either. The 53-year-old strategically distanced himself from Ranieri during the twilight of the ex-Chelsea manager's tenure, ensuring he could immediately engage a disenchanted group of players before dancing on his colleague's grave when handed the opportunity.

Having also worked with West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and ,fleetingly with England, league champion Shakespeare would not have struggled for work away from the East Midlands, yet he took the chance to further himself, at the expense of his principals. He might have let Leicester off their leash in games, but his most significant tactical move came many weeks ago. The (cruel) world of football management will eventually catch up with him.

Craig Shakespeare
Shakespeare is holding all the cards after replacing Ranieri until the end of the season. Getty Images

It doesn't take a psychoanalyst to decipher that every Leicester player that has faced the media in the last three weeks is masking a dark secret regarding the way squad power removed Ranieri from the managerial hot seat. Among them is goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who last night provided an awkward, bumbling response to questions regarding this sudden change of form. It was the senior players who were said to have approached the ownership over Ranieri's approach. The Dane's expression saw it painted all over his face.

The only constant through the saga has been Leicester's fabulous fans, who were at their inspiring best against Sevilla. After watching FC Copenhagen and Club Brugge come to the King Power, they have earned a visit from Barcelona or Real Madrid as a reward for their loyalty since the days of League One – where trips to Hereford United and Stockport County were the norm. Either way, a footballing lesson awaits the owners, players and staff at Leicester. While the fairy tale might have been extended, there is no denying the cost at which it has come.