So here we are again. The tournament where Europe’s elite converge to form the most exciting club competition in the world. Yes, the UEFA Champions League is back.
After years of misery, Blues fans will be hoping that this is finally Chelsea’s season.
The way the English champions have started the campaign coupled with the European pedigree of manager Carlo Ancelotti, will fill the fans’ with optimism and ensures that they will undoubtedly be one of the favorites to lift the coveted trophy this season.
The draw posed an interesting group as Chelsea were drawn against Marseille, Spartak Moscow and MFK Zilina.
Although some long away trips await the Blues, most notably the Luzhniki Stadium in Russia, the scene of the clubs’ most painful Champions League experience against Manchester United a few years ago, Ancelotti’s men will be confident of progressing to the knockout stages once again.
Chelsea begin their campaign with a trip to Zilina next month. and how they and Roman Abramovich hope they can end their journey on May 28th with another final.
The iconic Wembley stadium will stage this season’s showpiece event. Amazingly, a London based club has never won the European Cup. Clearly, there’s no better time to do it for Chelsea.
Plenty of obstacles lie in their wait however. European champions Inter Milan managed by old nemesis Rafa Benitez will pose a major threat as they look to become the first team ever to retain the trophy in the modern era.
The most successful European club Real Madrid, led by the ‘Special One’ and Chelsea favourite Jose Mourinho, will also pose a massive danger to the Blues’ chances along with fierce rivals Barcelona.
Not only are Barca possibly the greatest team on earth at the moment, but they are led by the greatest player, the genius that is Lionel Messi. Not to mention usual foes Manchester United and Arsenal as this season promises to deliver another epic Champions League campaign filled with intriguing sub-plots.
It seems written that this is Chelsea’s year however. The year in which they finally end recent years of hurt culminating in semi-final defeats and most notably, that rain soaked evening in Moscow where they and John Terry came within a post’s width of creating history.
A trip to the Luzhniki Stadium to face Spartak Moscow will inevitably revive those hurtful memories. Rest assured that pain of losing out to Manchester United still runs its course through every player, legend and fan associated with the Blues.
Eradicating that pain and ensuring that this generation does not go down as ‘nearly men’ will undoubtedly provide motivation for Ancelotti’s men this season.
Chelsea’s squad of players and especially their spine of Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard and the seemingly unstoppable Didier Drogba, oozes experience, power and ultimate class.
Roman Abramovich is no longer hoping, but expecting, that this squad of players finally deliver what he has been coveting the most since acquiring the club in the form of the elusive Champions League trophy.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.