Remembering Andriy Shevchenko’s Chelsea profession
On 31 Might 2006 Chelsea introduced that, after a number of failed makes an attempt, they’d lastly secured the signing of Andriy Shevchenko.
The £30m+ they paid was, on the time, the sixth highest switch payment ever and it additionally eclipsed the British switch document. Regardless of this, few argued that the Ukrainian was not well worth the cash. He was thought of one in every of, if not the, finest striker on the planet on the time, netting 175 objectives in simply over 300 video games for Milan and even profitable the 2004 Ballon d’Or.
Chelsea supervisor Jose Mourinho publicly described the signing as a ‘dream’ (through BBC Sport), though Roman Abramovich was way more eager on the transfer than him, making it his private mission to recruit the high-profile frontman.
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Shevchenko was equally delighted.
“There’s a proper second to affix a soccer membership and I believe I’ve arrived right here on the excellent time.”
– Andriy Shevchenko in 2006
His prediction turned out to be manner large on the mark.
Point out Shevchenko to a Chelsea fan and you might be more likely to be greeted with a tortured, anguished look, as in 2010 he left having scored simply 22 objectives in 77 appearances for the Blues.
Nonetheless, his meagre return throughout his taking part in profession at Stamford Bridge hasn’t stopped him being linked with the managerial scorching seat ought to under-pressure Frank Lampard be given the boot.
However the place did all of it go unsuitable for the person who was purported to take them to the following stage in his taking part in days? 90min fired up our time machine to seek out out.
To know why his Chelsea profession is seen as so underwhelming, one should bear in mind what calibre of participant the membership believed they have been signing again in 2006.
Over the prior two campaigns, Shevchenko had starred for a Milan group that received the Scudetto in 2004 and reached the 2005 Champions League remaining. Throughout his remaining two seasons in Italy, he managed a mixed 72 direct purpose involvements in 80 video games. Blessed with tempo, intelligence and deadly ending potential, he was one of the crucial feared forwards on the earth.
Nonetheless, all was not what it appeared…
In his remaining recreation for Milan he picked up a knee damage, but performed by means of the ache to captain Ukraine at their first ever World Cup in Germany. There was hypothesis that the injury he did on the match had a detrimental impact on his future profession. Nothing concrete has ever been confirmed, though it does supply one rationalization for the pale imitation of Sheva that arrived within the capital again in 2006.
One of many speaking factors on the time was what Shevchenko’s arrival meant for Didier Drogba, who had been Chelsea’s offensive talisman the earlier marketing campaign.
Apparently, throughout the season’s curtain-raising Neighborhood Protect, Mourinho opted to area each gamers, alongside Arjen Robben, in a haphazard 4-3-3. After 25 minutes of getting in one another’s manner, Michael Ballack’s damage noticed Shevchenko moved to an attacking midfield berth.
Quickly after, he would announce his arrival as a Blues hero, scoring an excellent purpose; racing onto a lofted ball from Frank Lampard, he chested it down elegantly, earlier than displaying trademark composure to information it previous Pepe Reina.
It was a classic Shevchenko and regrettably, it will additionally show to be the one of many few highlights of his Chelsea profession.
After getting off to a dream begin, Shevchenko failed to copy these heights throughout the first half of the 2006/2007 season.
Deployed both alongside Drogba in a 4-4-2, or as a fluid, large ahead in a 4-3-3, he had notched up simply three objectives after 19 Premier League appearances. Much more worrying was the truth that the overwhelming majority of those appearances had been begins.
Issues weren’t a lot better in Europe both. Regardless of Shevchenko beginning the marketing campaign because the Champions League’s main all-time scorer, he solely netted as soon as within the group phases – and that got here in a lifeless rubber towards Levski Sofia.
It was changing into clear that Drogba and Shevchenko weren’t clicking, with the pair hardly ever combining to attain throughout the season.
Shevchenko’s first season at Chelsea wasn’t all dangerous. Simply when Chelsea followers have been shedding hope of him ever coming good, the ahead reminded everybody what he was able to throughout an FA Cup quarter-final replay towards Tottenham.
After taking part in out a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge, the second recreation was an altogether much less dramatic affair – till Shevchenko lit issues up with an unbelievable Fifty fifth-minute opener.
Choosing the ball up on the correct hand facet, he streaked previous Younger-pyo Lee, earlier than chopping onto his favoured left foot and, in a single fluid movement, firing a curling shot previous Paul Robinson from an unattainable angle.
One of many key tropes of Shevchenko’s Chelsea profession was selecting up accidents at irritating occasions.
This behavior began in direction of the tail finish of his first season on the membership. Serving to the Blues defeat Arsenal within the League Cup remaining in February was a uncommon instance of Shevchenko being accessible for a high-stakes recreation.
Because of damage he missed his facet’s Champions League semi-final second leg defeat to Liverpool, their FA Cup remaining victory over Manchester United, in addition to their Premier League run-in, the place they surrendered the title to United.
By the top of the marketing campaign, Shevchenko had managed simply seven objectives and eight assists in forty Premier League and European appearances.
His inaugural marketing campaign at Stamford Bridge could have been underwhelming however his second season was even worse.
After lacking the opening 5 video games of the season, he made a scoring return within the Champions League towards Rosenborg – a recreation that may show to be Jose Mourinho’s final as Chelsea supervisor till he returned to the Bridge in 2013.
This strike can be adopted by simply seven extra all season, with solely 5 of those coming within the league.
In reality – the only real brace of his Chelsea profession towards Aston Villa apart – he regarded nicely off the tempo and needed to take care of again, ankle and hernia issues throughout the marketing campaign. Even bringing in Olympic gold profitable sprinter Darren Campbell as his private dash coach didn’t return Shevchenko’s sharpness.
After back-to-back seasons of woe, Shevchenko needed to go away Chelsea – however unsurprisingly, curiosity was low.
In the long run, Milan supplied him a manner out, signing him on mortgage during the 2008/2009 season. The transfer acted as a strong warning of the hazards of nostalgia, as Shevchenko got here nowhere close to matching the dizzy heights of his first spell on the membership.
In an injury-ravaged marketing campaign, he didn’t handle to attain a single Serie A purpose, taking part in second fiddle to the likes of Filippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato.
The next season his loveless marriage with Chelsea lastly got here to an finish when the membership allowed him to rejoin boyhood facet Dynamo Kyiv on a free switch.
He could not have made it as a participant however may Shevchenko reinvigorate his commonplace at Chelsea by returning as a supervisor in the future?
It could sound far-fetched however it shouldn’t be dominated out. Reviews recommend he stays in touch with Roman Abramovich and has carved out a tremendous managerial repute since retiring, guiding Ukraine to the Euro 2020 qualification in 2019.
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