Chelsea’s dramatic and outrageously unforgettable Champions League victory in May represents more than just a trophy, millions of pounds, a departure for their icon and an eventually overjoyed, rather relieved Russian owner. It became a milestone for the club in terms of what they have achieved, plus it is a catalyst for the long term: due to Chelsea’s performance, the world of football should be bracing themselves for another serious, structured attempt from the London club to enter the history books.
The realisation of the domino effect that favours Chelsea in numerous ways is startling: would Eden Hazard’s future career lie at Stamford Bridge if the penalties had gone Bayern Munich’s way? Hazard, albeit briefly, announced on Twitter how he would be joining the Champions League ‘winners’; after all, history usually has no place for the losers and the Belgian would most likely not have requested a place in Chelsea’s dressing room had they failed to overcome Bayern.
Additionally, the Blues have another campaign in Europe’s top competition to look forward to, plus their 6th place finish looks unlikely to be replicated. With that in mind, it is easy to see why (along with a lot of money) Porto’s Brazilian powerhouse, Hulk, has had his head turned. If rumours are to be believed, The Times revealed how Hulk will be paid around £135, 000 a week (equating to £7m per year) to wear the blue jersey.
A £50m bid for Athletico Madrid’s Falcao is also circulating as a rumour that appears incredibly ambitious yet similarly unrealistic. Amazingly, the Blues also supposedly had upwards of a £30m offer rejected by Sao Paulo for Lucas Moura, the proposed future of Brazilian football.
Abramovich’s cash injection has turned Chelsea into a global brand, and the second generation of the club will emerge in the coming seasons as the ‘old guard’ drop off, to be replaced by young stars like Hazard and Hulk, inevitably purchased from all four corners of the globe.
And that, pretty much, is the key for Chelsea: use their endless wealth to replace players like John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard. Drogba’s departure, along with Jose Bosingwa and Salomon Kalou’s, signals the beginning of this transition. This time in 10 years, there will be a similarly famous, ageing spine of the team who will face an inevitable door of their own – it is how football works.