A lot has been written about Chelsea’s recent exit from the Champions League to an injury time winner from Iniesta at Stamford Bridge that dumped Chelsea out of the competition on the away goals rule to Barcelona.
Inevitably, there has been much discussion about the controversial penalty incidents, the quality of the Norwegian referee, the behaviour of some Chelsea players during and after the match and even ridiculous talk of a UEFA conspiracy.
However, two of the main protagonists in this European Cup Semi Final should reflect and examine the part they played in the semi-final more closely.
Look again at Iniesta’s goal. No - come on, stop laughing - and look closely at the goal.
Who is the closest Chelsea player to Iniesta when he receives the ball ? Michael Ballack. Just look at Ballack’s feeble attempt to block Iniesta’s shot. This is the dying seconds of a Champions League semi-final. Ballack actually goes down on one knee and shrinks away from the ball instead of charging it down.
As for Didier Drogba, he missed a gilt-edged chance in the first leg that would have given Chelsea a priceless away goal. Drogba also missed a similar opportunity that would surely have sealed the tie in the second leg at Stamford Bridge. Drogba will claim his shirt was pulled in one of the penalty incidents but maybe his reputation for cheating and diving preceded him and influenced the referee’s decision.
After 72 minutes, Drogba was substituted. As he walked off, he shook his head and limped towards the bench. The implication was he was injured after a heavy tackle and could play no further part. This clearly wasn’t a tactical substitution. Imagine then, my surprise at the final whistle, to see Drogba leap up from the bench, clad in idiotic flip-flops, running onto the pitch to harangue the referee and deliver a foul-mouthed, abusive tirade directly into the cameras and a watching TV audience of millions. No injury. Once again, just like last May when Drogba needlessly got himself sent off in the Champions League Final which meant that he could not take a crucial penalty, Drogba had cheated Chelsea FC and he cheated Chelsea fans.
Finally a word on the Chelsea captain, John Terry, the man who sobbed like a baby, after his hilarious missed penalty gifted the European Cup to Manchester United last May. After the final whistle, you can clearly see John Terry admonishing security stewards who were trying to offer some protection to the referee as they attempted to escort him from the field of play. Is a man like John Terry who conducts himself like this really a role model and the right choice as captain of England ?
Apologies for the slightly delayed post but I was laughing uncontrollably for much of yesterday.