The injection of Roman Abramovich’s millions have seen Chelsea enjoy success since the turn of the millennium. The Blues won two league titles under Jose Mourinho and one under Carlo Ancelotti, but the UEFA Champions League eluded both managers. Chelsea previously came closest in 2008 under Avram Grant, losing the final on penalties at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow to rivals Manchester United.
Chelsea finally broke their European hoodoo in May this year, with interim manager Roberto Di Matteo leading the side to glory against Bayern Munich. Ivorian striker Didier Drogba scored the decisive penalty in a dramatic shoot-out. The Champions League crown was enough to secure Di Matteo the post on a permanent basis, although he has since been sacked by the Stamford Bridge club. The club finished in sixth position in the English Premier League, but go straight into the 2012/13 Champions League group stage as holders.
The close season of 2012 saw a host of changes at Stamford Bridge. Drogba joined former team-mate Nicolas Anelka in China PR, with Jose Bosingwa and Salomon Kalou also departing. Di Matteo’s side were renowned for their defensive performances leading up to their Champions League win, but the Italian has brought in a wealth of young attacking talent, with Marko Marin, Eden Hazard and Oscar joining the club. Cesar Azpilicueta has also joined to fill the defensive void left by Bosingwa. Rafa Benitez has also come in as manager and will be aiming for glory in a tournament he won with Internazionale in 2010 and reached the final with Liverpool in 2005.
Facts and figures
Ron Harris, Peter Osgood, Jimmy Greaves, Peter Bonetti, Ray Wilkins, Bobby Tambling, Charlie Cooke, Terry Venables, John Hollins, Dennis Wise, Steve Clarke, Gianluca Vialli, Roberto Di Matteo, Gianfranco Zola, Marcel Desailly, Claude Makelele, Didier Drogba
Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres
Chelsea went straight into the Champions League group stages after finishing second in the 2010/11 Premier League. They topped their Champions League group with 11 points, winning a game against each side, drawing twice and losing once. After losing their first knockout game 3-1 to Napoli, the Blues dramatically recovered in the second leg, winning 4-1 after extra time to reach the quarter-finals.
Benfica were dispatched 3-1 on aggregate to set up a semi-final clash with holders Barcelona. A first-leg victory at Stamford Bridge set up a titanic decider at the Camp Nou, with a last-minute Fernando Torres strike sealing a 2-2 draw, and a 3-2 aggregate win. Striker Drogba equalised in the 88th minute of the final against Bayern Munich, and cemented his place in Chelsea folklore by dispatching the winning penalty in the shoot-out.
|12||John Obi MIKEL|