Remembering Andriy Shevchenko’s Chelsea career
On May 31, 2006, Chelsea announced that after several unsuccessful attempts, they had finally secured Andriy Shevchenko’s signature.
The £ 30million they paid was, at the time, the sixth-highest transfer fee on record and they also eclipsed the UK transfer record. Despite this, few have argued that the Ukrainian is not worth the money. He was considered one of, if not the, best striker on the planet at the time, scoring 175 goals in just over 300 games for Milan and even winning the 2004 Ballon d’Or.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho publicly described the signing as a ‘dream’ (via BBC Sport), although Roman Abramovich was much more inclined to move than he was, making it his personal mission to recruit the top leader. level.
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Shevchenko was also delighted.
“There is a good time to join a football club and I think I got here at the right time.”
– Andriy Shevchenko in 2006
His prediction turned out to be very broad.
Mention Shevchenko to a Chelsea fan and you will probably be greeted with a tortured and anguished look, as in 2010 he left after scoring just 22 goals in 77 appearances for the Blues.
However, his meager comeback during his playing career at Stamford Bridge did not prevent him from being linked to the managerial hot seat. should under pressure, Frank Lampard receives the safe.
But where did it all go wrong for the man who was supposed to take them to the next level in his playing days? 90 mins triggered our time machine to find out.
To understand why his career at Chelsea is considered so disappointing, one has to remember the caliber of player the club thought they signed in 2006.
In the previous two campaigns, Shevchenko had played for a Milan side which won the Scudetto in 2004 and reached the 2005 Champions League final. In his last two seasons in Italy, he has managed a combined total of 72 direct goals in 80 games. Blessed with pace, intelligence and deadly finishing ability, he was one of the most feared attackers in the world.
However, not all was what it seemed …
In his last game for Milan, he injured his knee, but faced the pain to lead Ukraine in their first-ever World Cup in Germany. There has been speculation that the damage he caused during the tournament took a toll on his future career. Nothing concrete has ever been proven, although it offers an explanation for the pale imitation of Sheva who arrived in the capital in 2006.
One of the talking points at the time was what Shevchenko’s arrival meant for Didier Drogba, who had been Chelsea’s offensive talisman in the previous campaign.
Interestingly, during the community shield raising the curtain for the season, Mourinho opted to field the two players, alongside Arjen Robben, in a random 4-3-3. After 25 minutes of interfering with each other, Michael Ballack’s injury saw Shevchenko moved to an attacking midfielder position.
Soon after, he would announce his arrival as the hero of the Blues, scoring a superb goal; running on a smooth ball from Frank Lampard, he elegantly torsos it, before showing his composure to guide it past Pepe Reina.
It was a vintage Shevchenko and unfortunately it would also be one of the few highlights of his Chelsea career.
After a dream start, Shevchenko failed to replicate those heights in the first half of the 2006/2007 season.
Deployed either alongside Drogba in a 4-4-2, or as a fluid and wide attacker in a 4-3-3, he had only scored three goals after 19 Premier League appearances. Even more worrying was the fact that the vast majority of these appearances had been debuts.
Things weren’t much better in Europe either. Although Shevchenko started the campaign as the Champions League’s all-time top scorer, he only scored once in the group stages – and that ended in a dead rubber against Levski Sofia.
It was becoming clear that Drogba and Shevchenko weren’t clicking, with the pair rarely combining to score during the season.
Shevchenko’s first season at Chelsea wasn’t that bad. Just as Chelsea fans were losing hope of seeing him get good, the forward reminded everyone of what he is capable of during a replay in the FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham.
After playing a 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge, Game 2 was quite a less dramatic affair – until Shevchenko lit the ball with an incredible opener in the 55th minute.
Scooping up the ball from the right side, he passed Young-pyo Lee, before cutting to his favorite left foot and, with a fluid motion, curling past Paul Robinson from an impossible angle.
One of the main goals of Shevchenko’s career at Chelsea was to get injured at frustrating times.
This habit began towards the end of his first season at the club. Helping the Blues defeat Arsenal in the League Cup final in February was a rare example of Shevchenko’s availability for a high-stakes game.
Due to injury, he missed his side’s defeat in the Champions League semi-finals to Liverpool, their FA Cup final victory over Manchester United, as well as their Premier League clash, where they have ceded the title to United.
By the end of the campaign, Shevchenko had managed just seven goals and eight assists in forty Premier League and European appearances.
His inaugural campaign at Stamford Bridge may have been a disappointment, but his second season was even worse.
After missing the first five games of the season, he made a notable Champions League comeback against Rosenborg – a game that would prove to be Jose Mourinho’s last as Chelsea manager until his return to Bridge in 2013 .
That strike would be followed by just seven more throughout the season, with just five in the league.
In truth – the only brace in his Chelsea career against Aston Villa aside – he looked well behind and has had to deal with back, ankle and hernia problems during the campaign. Even bringing Olympic sprinter Darren Campbell as a personal sprint trainer didn’t return Shevchenko’s finesse.
After consecutive woe seasons, Shevchenko wanted to leave Chelsea – but unsurprisingly, interest was low.
In the end, Milan offered him a way out by loaning him out for the duration of the 2008/2009 season. The move acted as a powerful warning of the dangers of nostalgia, as Shevchenko fell far short of the dizzying heights of his first spell at the club.
In an injury-ravaged campaign, he failed to score a single Serie A goal, playing second fiddle to the likes of Filippo Inzaghi and Alexandre Pato.
The following season, his loveless marriage to Chelsea finally ended when the club allowed him to join the Dynamo Kyiv youth team with a free transfer.
He may not have succeeded as a player, but could Shevchenko reinvigorate his standard at Chelsea by one day returning as a manager?
This may sound like overkill, but it should not be ruled out. Reports suggest he remains in contact with Roman Abramovich and has carved out an excellent management reputation since his retirement, guiding Ukraine towards qualifying for Euro 2020 in 2019.