The Aftermath of the Champions League Final
After the final ball was kicked by Didier Drogba at the Champions League final there was a moment of explosion. Perhaps it was sensory overload, but as images flashed by of players picking up medals, running towards fans, jerseys swinging round now beaming heads and losing Bayern Munich stars slinking away, distraught, it all seemed right.
It was not until after the spectacular scenes had ended and the rhetoric of saving English football had flattened with the champagne bubbles that one had the opportunity to consider what had happened.
Had John Terry really got changed into full playing kit, shin pads and all, to go up and collect the Champions League trophy? Did he really think he could slip that one past us?!
Who knows what the intention was. Perhaps the hope was that in thirty years people would see images and assume Terry had played. Despite the heroics of Ashley Cole in defense, or Gary Cahill and David Luiz for that matter, Terry tried to barge his way to the front of the celebrations.
For the last few days jokes have been doing the rounds about how Terry tried to cut in on the England World Cup celebrations in 1966 or how he was going to turn up to his daughters sports day in the hope she would win the egg-and-spoon race.
As funny as this all is, though, it masks issues. Terry has cultivated something at Chelsea. He is almost untouchable within Stamford Bridge, it seems. Despite awaiting trial and charges of racism and abuse he has been selected for England’s EURO 2012 squad and he is protected enough to be allowed to commandeer the Chelsea celebrations. Despite tales of how he can polarize a dressing room he is consistently given chances to be front and centre.
So when a post-victory interview with Fernando Torres, conducted by Spanish journalist Guillem Ballague, surfaced it all seemed slightly less rosy.
“I feel like I’m at a peak moment in my career, with more desire and hunger than I’ve felt in a long time, but I’ve had to spend the final on the bench,” the striker reportedly said. “It was a huge disappointment when I saw the line-up, perhaps the biggest disappointment in my life. I thought I would play in this game and I couldn’t imagine not doing so.”
Telling of the worst point of his career he also suggested that he would need to hunt down the board for immediate talks about his future. “I’m not comfortable. A victory like this one against Munich does compensate, but I want them to tell me what is going to happen in the future. Now I do feel like football is worth it but I’ve been through a difficult time. The worst in my career. And I don’t want to go through it again,” he told Ballague.
Now, according to other sports journalists he will not have to worry. He has had a fillip by being included in Spain’s most recent squad. He could make the EUROs. Alongside this though, the story goes that owner Roman Abramovich shelled out £50m or so because he likes him, and he will want him to lead the Blue line next season.
This would mean Didier Drogba would not be kept on, despite shining in the final and there being stories of him demanding a new two-year contract.
Chelsea are caught between the old guard and this season’s double. They must progress and it must not be ignored that players like Terry, Drogba and Frank Lampard are not the way forward. Surely changes must now come in?
The new manager, whoever they are, will have a task shepherding this squad which may now have even more ego. Will they do right by Torres? Will they shop Drogba? Who knows. Wonderkid Eden Hazard scored a hat trick in his last game for Lille before publicly announcing that Chelsea’s victory “makes him think”. There is no way of predicting what way the squad will look next year and, based on this tumultuous season, it takes a brave person to think that there is a straightforward job changing things at Chelsea.
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