Manchester United teach Roman Abramovich that money can’t buy everything in football
Fernando Torres = £50 million!
Ramires = €22 million!
David Luiz = €25 million + Nemanja Matić (Serbian Midfielder)!
Getting knocked out of a tournament that one has been itching to win all their life – Priceless!
Much like the MasterCard advertisement, in football players may be bought with money, but trophies can’t be bought. They are priceless, and you get them with passion, determinacy, team-spirit and a well connected team, performing at its best under a stable
The harsh reality may have finally dawned on Chelsea’s Russian owner, Roman Abramovich, last night when his team was once again knocked out of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) by Manchester United. This season the Russian billionaire’s shopping spree of buying
players surpassed the £1 billion mark and yet they failed to land the Holy Grail (UCL Trophy).
Roman’s investments bought Chelsea, three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Carling Cups but when it boiled down to one trophy that coveted above all three, it was proven that the riches of these modern day Croesus cannot buy it but the indefatigable
will and above all, sheer class of a team is that counts in earning European glory.
In his first seven seasons as the owner of Chelsea, his team reached the last 4 of the Champions League 5 times and even came within one kick of the ball to winning the Champions League in 2008, but like last night they couldn’t overcome the Red Devils.
Last season they came unstuck against Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan in the Round-of-16 and although they progressed one step further, unfortunately for them they once again came against a United side whose desire and will to win was much greater than theirs.
Chelsea travelled to Old Trafford trailing United by 1 away goal and needed to win the match to have any chance of progressing. Although they made a bright start in the game, some disciplined and gritty defending combined with some slick midfield passing
and the age defying brilliance of Ryan Giggs made it impossible for them to make any significant contribution in the game against the two time UCL winners.
Perhaps it was Carlo Ancelotti’s team selection that is to be blamed for the loss as he opted to play Fernando Torres, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda in a three pronged attack with Ramires, Essien and Lamrapd in a three man midfield.
Ancelotti’s decision to keep Didier Drogba to the bench and instead give Torres a start was mind baffling given the performances of the Spaniard since his arrival from Liverpool. Despite all his class and intelligent, off the ball, runs, he lacks the cutting
edge in front of goal and the pace and fitness that he was once feared for, has deserted him.
With this game Fernando Torres’ barren run stretched to 692 minutes without a goal and that is just not acceptable from a striker for whom one has paid £50 million.
To blame it all on Torres would not be fair as Chelsea as a team lacked the panache to have any impact in the game.
The injury to Rio Ferdinand as early as the 8th minute left the defender hobbling along the backline which provided Chelsea with an excellent opportunity as Rio had to stay deep in his own half and rely on his positioning sense to keep the attackers
Florent Malouda, Ramires and Frank Lampard were all guilty of missing gilt edged chances early in the game but once Ferdinand had shaken off his knock and United got to terms with the game, Chelsea looked terribly out of sorts.
Javier Hernandez was the first to put the ball into the back of the net from a Wayne Rooney’s cross but the goal was disallowed as the Mexican was just marginally offside.
However, the passionate and energetic United side was not to be denied an opener when the vision of Rooney combined with the delicate touch of John O’Shea fed a brilliant ball to Ryan Giggs on the right hand side. The 37-year-old bamboozled his way into
the box and squared the ball to Javier Hernandez, who made no mistake from close range, finding the back of the net while onside this time.
Both the teams went for the half-time break with United leading 1-0 and Carlo Ancelotti tried to make amends by bringing on Drogba and it almost paid dividends as the Ivorian got the ten-man Chelsea back in the game in the 77th minute, slotting
a brilliant shot past Edwin van der Sar to set up a grand finish.
However, Chelsea could hardly celebrate their goal since United scored, seconds after the game restarted.
In a free flowing counter attack move, Ryan Giggs chipped the ball over Ivanovic to Park Ji Sung and the South Korean applied the finish touch with remarkable ease, sealing the UCL semi-final spot for United.
Hence, no matter how much money Chelsea spends on buying world class players, they need to have a team with players that connect with each other, like Barcelona and Manchester United.