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|Chelsea’s Very African 2012 UCL Win by Gball: 1:50pm On Jun 16|
It’s been more than nine years since that magical night in Munich where Chelsea overcame all the odds to win their first ever UCL title. It has become the reference fairytale story for Chelsea fans since then. “If this happened in 2012 when we won the UCL, and it’s happening now, then we can win the UCL now”. Who can blame them when they remember the story and the feelings that came with their first ever title?
In all of Chelsea’s heroes on the night and the tournament as a whole, nobody can forget the contributions of Chelsea’s African stars in particular in clinching their maiden crown. Chelsea had four African stars in their 2012 team, at the time, the most in a UCL winning squad overshadowing Barcelona’s 2009 and Inter Milan’s 2010 squads who had three African players.
This run to the title was so sweet to the eyes because, for most of the 2011/2012 season, there seemed no plausible reason why it should have happened in the first place and it almost did not.
An internal crisis had rocked Chelsea and they had been turning out results fit for a team that would be satisfied with a mid-table finish after a strong relegation fight and that simply isn’t who Chelsea are. Changes needed to be made. After players and manager had been at loggerheads for months over playing time, rotation, and respect, the decision to sack manager Andre Villas-Boas had to be made. A good manager in his own stead with a huge reputation following a UEFA Cup win with Porto, Villas-Boas was unable to stamp his authority on the team and found himself unable to win over the movers and shakers of the dressing room.
“The communication was not right. From the start of this season, I was one of the key players in the team. But there were a few rotations early on and it was difficult. “You think you have played well in a game and the manager then leaves you out. You don’t know the reason why. Things like this went on through everyone’s head and not just mine”
John Obi Mikel
The communication was so wrong that it affected results and by the time Villas-Boas was sacked, Chelsea had one leg out of the Champions League. A 3-1 first leg loss against Napoli was not the last straw that broke the Camel’s back but it was certainly the heaviest.
Out went Villas-Boas and in came Chelsea icon Roberto Di Matteo who had had a special career with the blues as a player and had served as an assistant manager before being hired as an interim first team manager.
Before the second leg of the Napoli tie, the Chelsea players had a heart-to-heart that changed their season.
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