Branislav Ivanovic, one of Chelsea’s finest ever players, was allowed to quietly leave through the Stamford Bridge back door and head for Zenit St. Petersburg.
The Blues really don’t learn.
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Although they do try, with Roman Abramovich now sending every former Chelsea player a hamper at Christmas time, once they’ve reached the grand old age of 50.
A lovely gesture. And it’s important to remember your history. But juggling too many balls means you eventually drop one.
Frank Lampard was made to feel like he was a mere footnote in Chelsea’s history, rather than the London club’s all-time leading goalscorer, when he left Stamford Bridge. And John Terry, the Premier League’s greatest ever centre-back, had to go public in order to force the Chelsea hierarchy’s hand regarding getting a new contract.
“Unfortunately it was a no. It’s not going to be a fairytale ending, I’m not going to retire at Chelsea. It’s going to be elsewhere, which it took me a couple of days to get over.”
Branislav Ivanovic is now the latest player of *that* era of Blues players to be cast aside, quietly and without much fuss, even after nearly a decade of highly consistent service.
The Serbian international isn’t statue-worthy or retiring of the shirt number, but a final runout, in front of a disinterested crowd against Brentford, in a tournament that means nothing, didn’t really showcase the legacy Ivanovic made in west London.
The now-Zenit St. Petersburg defender will go down as one of the best pound-for-pound signings in Premier League history, in a transfer market where value for money is no longer a phrase regularly said. And Chelsea didn’t even have the decency to make sure the door didn’t hit him on the way out.
Arjen Robben’s all-time XI includes two former England internationals
GK) Manuel Neuer
No arguments here. 'Keeper, sweeper and better than Oliver Khan. Image Source: Twitter
RB) Philipp Lahm
Can just about play in any position. Leader of men. And with a trophy cabinet as big as any, the German has got to be included. Image Source: Twitter
CB) Sergio Ramos
One of the great centre-backs of the game; and could even be in the running for the next James Bond villain. Image Source: Twitter
CB) John Terry
Captain, leader, plonker. Image Source: Twitter
LB) David Alaba
Hmmm... good player, yeah, but would have had Ashley Cole when the Dutchman played with Cole at Chelsea. Image Source: Twitter
DM) Mark van Bommel
Very, very underrated player. As reliable as anything; but the sort of player who you'd always get as a Microstar Power Pod... really annoying. Image Source: Twitter
RM) Thomas Muller
Cracking goals to game ratio, but please pull those socks up. The German looks like the village people from Shrek. Image Source: Twitter
AM) Wesley Sneijder
What a player Sneijder was. Shame the Dutchman shied out on coming to the Premier League. Image Source: Twitter
AM) Frank Lampard
England's greatest ever midfielder. Paul-I-can-hit-a-tree-Scholes acted like a coward with his international career, and Franky Lamps was far more efficient finding the net than Stevie G for country. Image Source: Twitter
LM) Franck Ribery
Spends more time injured than playing. Class on his day, but just over 100 goals in 350ish appearances for Bayern is a poor return for a player of his status. Image Source: Twitter
ST) Ruud van Nistelrooy
Ruuudddddddd. Mr Cool. Mr Clinical. One of Holland's and Man United's greatest No. 9's. Image Source: Twitter