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Money Can Buy Most Things Roman, But Not Everything
Footytubeblog (Blog) 4 years ago
There’s nothing logical about what happened in the Champions League. How this Chelsea side managed to get past teams boasting talents like the Three Tenors at Napoli, Oscar Cardozo, Lionel Messi, and Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben in the final makes little to no sense. What it did prove was that the back-to-basics approach of Roberto Di Matteo is far more valuable than any record-breaking transfer. Ironically, it’s the grit and determination that simply can’t be bought that saw Chelsea to their greatest night.

Even at the semi final stage, it seemed more likely that individual efforts of talents that are so far removed from the rest in terms of quality would see their teams through to victory. Chelsea don’t have that—at least not right now. There isn’t a Cristiano Ronaldo and his supporting cast of Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain for Di Matteo to call upon. Nor do they possess Messi, Xavi, Ribery or Robben in their ranks to make a difference. It was and should have been a complete mismatch in terms of confidence and quality. Certainly in relation to the overall value in all the semifinal squads. But where luck might have been on the face of Chelsea’s triumph over a trident of greater powers, it certainly masked what was really fight and hard work in this squad.

Maybe this Champions League victory was enough to convince Roman Abramovich that you can’t simply wipe the slate clean and start afresh with a club’s philosophy on how to play the game. The Chelsea owner wanted victory in Europe, but he wanted it to be done off the back of attractive, adventurous and fearless football. I’m sure it didn’t matter to him the morning after, but the work towards that brand of football might never be as clear cut as simply bringing in a new manager.

Chelsea are heavily ingrained in the art of efficient football. They might have drawn comparisons with the modern game’s most feared attacks under Carlo Ancelotti, but even those five, six and seven-nil wins were the work of efficient, no nonsense performances. Nothing flash, just going out and getting the job done.

Even Juan Mata couldn’t really take as much of the plaudits as Abramovich would have liked. The former Valencia man has done extremely well in his first year in England, but this is about Chelsea’s old guard, their old way of playing and something they weren’t about to let go of so easily under Andre Villas-Boas.

There is some degree of ironic humour to Chelsea’s campaign in the second half of the season under Roberto Di Matteo. The club’s only action of note and importance in the January transfer window was the introduction of Gary Cahill, a £7 million signing from Bolton. Of course he was technically a Villas-Boas signing, in the loosest sense of the term, but he proved to be one of the keys to unlocking that mysterious door that only the royals of world football ever venture.

The contrast to 12 months prior when the club spent a record £50 million on Fernando Torres from Liverpool is great in a number of ways. The Spaniard’s history and price promised so much in terms of goals, electrifying attacks and a foundation of many great years with a younger striker replacing the apparently over the hill Didier Drogba. By Chelsea’s reasoning and their history of lavish signings, Torres should have been the man to lead Chelsea’s victory in Europe. But that’s not the way it’s done at this Chelsea. Instead, Gary Cahill formed much of the talking points following a string of heroic performances alongside John Terry in the Champions League. Yes his appearance in the final was alongside David Luiz, another big transfer alongside Torres last year, but the former Bolton player represents a true Chelsea player. A Frank Lampard and John Terry brand of never say die football. Nothing flash, but 100 per cent commitment until the final whistle.

How unlikely that the distinctly unspectacular, even if very smart, purchase of a Bolton Wanderers defender would act as a key element of a Champions League winning squad. Again, it makes no sense. It doesn’t on paper, or against the backdrop of stars in the competition, and especially to Roman Abramovich.

You get a real sense that this current Chelsea squad loved the fight on the road to the Allianz Arena. There are players who could and who should have taken on more important roles to implement Villas-Boas’ philosophy of free-flowing football. But even those like Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and David Luiz seemed to thrive off the idea of getting stuck in and grinding out results. Their cultures of attacking, attractive football took to the back seat against the English fighting spirit of Chelsea. Not even all the money that was spent on those three individuals alone could have taken away the manner in which the Champions League was won.

Indeed, money can buy you a lot of things: the most talented, the most aesthetically pleasing, the most lethal in front of goal. But Chelsea’s greatest day was very much a back drop of will, desire and passion. Money certainly can’t buy that.

Blog by Thomas Hallett
Bluesjose (Chelsea) 4 years ago
Nice one. Thumbs up
Achiox (Manchester United) 4 years ago
This was nicely written. Cheers for the enjoyable read, Thomas!
Barracuda (Manchester United) 4 years ago
This blog usually is a big hit and miss, but this article is pretty good, nice one
Aatir (Chelsea) 4 years ago
Great post, especially highlighting how important Gary cahill turned out to be for this squad. AVB had released Alex and if Cahill hadnt been upto the task, we might have seen another rookie Hutchinson taking the centre stage in the later stages of champions league
ManUK (Manchester United) 4 years ago
I completely agree, don't expect to see really good attacking flashy football at Chelsea until the old guards are well and truly gone. But they're very effective nonetheless
Jon1979 (Real Madrid) 4 years ago
There are a lot of things logical about what happened in the Champions League! This is why financial fair play will come through, but will it be enough?

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