ABU DHABI, UAE – Roman Abramovich clapped once just in time. Sitting cross-legged in the VIP area of Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, the owner of the senior Chelsea and his assistant as a smile appears on his face, it appears briefly his black mask has been lowered after drinking still water.
The number of Club World Cup winners may not be firmly entrenched in Europe than in the rest of the world, but a 2-1 victory over Palmeiras in Saturday’s final crown is linked with the Blues as the best club side in the world. A clear night on the 19-year tour of Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003 with the aim of gaining world domination.
Chelsea Club World Cup Crown Completes Abramovich’s 19-Year
The way they reached the top in the 120 minutes, winning the 21st edition of his reign, is a sign of his support: two of the three most expensive players in Chelsea history to score goals, £ 97.5 million striker Romelu Lukaku and long bowler and midfielder – £ 71m Kai Havertz with a 117-minute penalty on both sides of the Raphael Veiga goal which forced the extra time.
Abramovich hurried to the stadium, accompanied by executive director Marina Granovskaia. The two welcomed head coach Thomas Tuchel, who flew in just 24 hours to help bring this latest success, before engaging in a long conversation with technical and operational director Petr Cech.
Cech was a player when Chelsea lost their only final in the tournament, ten years ago to Corinthians, and spoke to the club here in Abu Dhabi before training earlier this week, explaining why this was a chance to be caught.
In 2012, Cech felt that Chelsea had not been prepared for the belief that some of the awards were too important and, in any case, they felt they would win it at one time or another given how good they were. Cech enjoyed a commendable career but never again achieved a shortfall at the Club World Cup.
Only five clubs have won all the major trophies available: Juventus, Ajax, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and now Chelsea. This is the top company Abramovich expects to keep, a mission statement that has informed the ruthless culture of hiring and fire management and investments of more than £ 2 billion.
“We’ve won it all,” Chelsea fans often sing. Now that is really true.
He remained in talks with Cech as the Chelsea team rallied in the middle and captain Cesar Azpilicueta lifted the trophy. A few minutes later, the Russian millionaire paused to be removed from everyone, arms behind him as he took the celebrations before Cech returned to him.
These two people – along with former veterans John Terry and Didier Drogba, who were also present – are familiar with the trials and tribulations Chelsea endured in climbing into the game conference better than anyone else. They will also know the hardships of living there.
Those who believe the tournament is in a desirable position to be the most respected professionals on offer but at the same time, the bottom line for their season in the context of the Premier League and Champions League will have seen enough to worry about future challenges.
The Pmeiraira were cunning opponents, not least because of the 15,000-strong crowd that turned this specific corner of Abu Dhabi into something like the city of Sao Paulo, the blue and white sea visible in large sections on all four sides of the stadium. The sound, even an hour before the start of the game, was deafening and continued with the game, giving the opposing song to their team’s content and counter-program, with a willingness to sacrifice space and material in an attempt to expose Chelsea during the break.
It almost worked. Dudu has spent more than one apparent form of attack and Chelsea has worked hard to create a lot, which is worrying and often overlooked by the ball.
Tuchel, who missed Wednesday’s semi-final defeat to Al Hilal while living in London following a test for COVID-19, made some dramatic changes, dropping Jorginho and Hakim Ziyech back to Mason Mount in the first XI. The return of Edouard Mendy was a blow to Kepa Arrizabalaga but it is understandable given the way he has just been crowned champion of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mount did not take half an hour as he appeared to be struggling with an ankle injury that sidelined him recently, with Christian Pulisic being introduced before Ziyech to replace him. The changes appeared to have contributed to the uncoordinated display, but one change, Marcus Alonso’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, resulted in the England international scoring an opening goal from the left-back position. Lukaku met Hudson-Odoi cross in the 55th minute with a high header, a good jump for this season, and his salary.
The VAR was an enemy of Chelsea and later its ally. In the 64th minute, to be reviewed that the only thing that can be found in the review that we are participating in as he challenges Gustavo Gomez. Raphael Veiga intercepted the next penalty.
What followed, without a doubt, was chaos and a clear indication that Tuchel still has work to be done to find out how he can make Chelsea more powerful against teams that are willing to defend the way Palmeiras did here.
At least two changes to the system, Lukaku, and Hudson-Odoi were eliminated when points were equal and both were enjoying a good night and Pulisic was asked to play left-back. Pulisic and Ziyech were once seen arguing with each other as they pointed out different ways. The confusion seemed obvious as Chelsea struggled to regroup and the game seemed to move on to penalties.
Instead, three minutes from extra time, Azpilicueta’s shot hit Palmeiras defender Luan in the arm and Australian referee Chris Beath looked for a second before dismissing a penalty.
Cleverly, Azpilicueta drowned the efforts of many of the Palmeiras players to let him go as he held the ball in place before handing it over to Havertz. The man who scored the winning goal in last year’s Champions League final against Manchester City in the World Cup sent goalkeeper Weverton in the wrong way.
Luan’s grief ended when he was released after another VAR review for robbing Havertz during the blast, but the Palmeiras race was already underway. While the referee was pondering the decision, Abramovich showed one of the two players behind his chair that he wanted to step down from the field.
Abramovich is a rare visitor to Stamford Bridge these days since he withdrew his visa application in the dispute between England and Russia in 2018. But he was in Porto to see his team win the Champions League and he would not miss this.
Tuchel knows, however, that the following is not far off in the owner’s mind.
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