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The worst European champions of all-time?


BlueLion.

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Chelsea Football Club may indeed be the incumbent European champions, but on this evidence, they may well be the worst team to hold that title in living memory.


A toiling performance against Steaua Bucharest - one full of lethargy - gave the general impression of the players being devoid of any actual interest but their considerable weekly salaries.


Blame Rafael Benitez all you like, but this Chelsea team is utterly soulless. Even with the famous Cech-Terry-Lampard spine to the side that has stood steadfast despite managers and playing personnel changing at Roman Abramovich’s apparent leisure, the Blues seemed totally lost. To describe this latest showing as lacklustre would in fact be somewhat complimentary.


After struggling past Sparta Prague in the previous round, we should not have expected anything different. Against the Czech side, a team that offered far less than recent FA Cup opponents Middlesbrough and even Brentford, it took a last-minute wonder-goal from substitute Eden Hazard to rescue the tie and send the Blues stumbling over the finish line.


Chelsea have a history of doing things the hard way, but this takes the proverbial biscuit.


How times have changed since the thrilling comeback against Napoli. The tense finale at Stamford Bridge against Benfica may have suggested otherwise after Javi Garcia’s equaliser on the night, but Raul Meireles’ late thunderous strike gave the Blues a win that shone of competence and professionalism over the two legs against the Lisbon side. Then came the ultimate test in the Nou Camp, where the Blues defied all the odds and then some against the defending champions of Europe – before, of course, beating Bayern in their own back yard. That completed a truly astonishing cycle of events that resulted in John Terry lifting that famous, big-eared trophy in the Allianz Stadium a little under ten months ago.


Frankly, this current Chelsea team does not even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.


From the admirable courage and conviction the Blues showed under Roberto di Matteo to Rafael Benitez’s spectacular shambles, Chelsea are certainly a team in transition – worryingly for them, though, firmly in reverse gear.


Their league performance may show the slightest microcosm of improvement on last season’s sixth-placed finish, but having earned the ignominy of being the first European champions to have their defence ended at the group stage; Benitez’s charges are hardly doing their best to change the perceptions of avid viewers across the globe.


Another passionless showing leaves the Blues on the verge of elimination from a competition they quite obviously have no interest in; a competition that they have an obligation to perform in.


In being pipped to the post by Juventus and Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stages, the Blues’ defence of the trophy ended prematurely, albeit on the most anal of technicalities. Granted a lifeline by finishing third in their group, the Blues entered the Europa League with much at stake – including their pride, and their UEFA co-efficient.


At this current rate, the Blues may not even be in the Champions League next term, but having disastrously exited the competition at such an early stage, the progression of teams such as Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Valencia has threatened the side’s first-seed status should they qualify for next season. Though the heroics against Napoli, Benfica, Barcelona and Bayern last term looks enough to just about maintain that seeding, the Blues are most certainly on a slippery slope towards oblivion, and more consequentially, an exceedingly tougher group next time around. As if Juventus and Shakhtar was bad enough!


Yet based on this lame showing, Benitez’s charges quite clearly have other things on their minds. Whether it is their wage-slips or the FA Cup showdown with Manchester United on Sunday remains a matter of debate. The Europa League seems an unnecessary burden that the team seems eager to be rid of; though not in a fashion that would be too obviously disrespectful to their opposition. Consider the last round against Sparta – in fifth gear, the Blues could quite easily have blown their opponents to kingdom-come. Instead they grudgingly progressed with the minimum expenditure of effort and interest.


The same can be said of tonight’s performance in the magnificent setting of the National Stadium in Bucharest. The best the Blues were able to conjure on a shocking surface was a weakly-struck effort from the near-useless Yossi Benayoun and an admittedly sweetly-hit volley from Fernando Torres (who, regardless of a respectable goals tally this season, is a certified flop in Chelsea blue) that were both two close to the goalkeeper. Substitute Marko Marin continued the trend when he shot straight down Tatarusanu’s throat late on as Chelsea made a rare attempt on goal.


Whilst Steaua created little themselves in terms of clear-cut chances, they kept the ball better and ultimately warranted this first-leg lead. They won the game from the penalty spot. It was certainly a soft decision to penalise Ryan Bertrand for leaning into Raul Rusescu, but the penalty was given nonetheless. Petr Cech may have gotten fingers to it, but there was to be no repeat of his Munich heroics and ball squirmed under him to send the already-vociferous home support into ecstasy.


With Rafael Benitez as good as voicing his resignation in a now-infamous post-match rant after the defeat of Middlesbrough last mid-week, it seems the players have absolutely no interest in performing for either the manager or the fans. To say this was subdued would be well wide of the mark – this was simply hopeless.


Some 650 Chelsea supporters braved the long journey to Romania to see what will surely rank as one of the most underwhelming Chelsea performances in recent memory.


Only Brazilian magician Oscar and skipper John Terry can come out of this game with any merit. £32 million man Eden Hazard was absolutely atrocious; the former-Liverpool duo of Benayoun and Torres (£60 million, I hasten to point out) have often belied belief with their wondrous general uselessness, but tonight reached new lows.


Meanwhile, Ryan Bertrand once again showed he is simply not good enough to be Ashley Cole’s replacement – the young man has struggled in European competition particularly this season, but with a lack of support for either full-back from an astoundingly lazy midfield trio it comes as little surprise that Steaua enjoyed themselves so much down the flanks.


The result is not emphatically damaging for Chelsea, who have certainly rescued something out of far-worse odds in recent times, but the simple truth lies in the fact that if it was a team better than Sparta or Steaua they were facing – with the greatest of respect, of course – this disaster of a European campaign (and season in general…) could have already come to a quicker conclusion.


May seems a long time away, but on this evidence, there will be little for Chelsea fans to shout about between now and then. Scraping a top four finish may seem a lowly target for the team that won an FA Cup and Champions League double last term, but the startling reality is that this team has ever so suddenly regressed – big time. Targets have been revised from challenging for seven trophies, to scrapping it out with Arsenal with fourth-place.


Rafael Benitez, who made match-winning substitutions in both matches against Sparta may be leaving in the summer, but the root of all the problems at Stamford Bridge lies most definitely amongst the playing personnel, who are crying out for a leader. José Mourinho, anyone?


These are troubling times for Chelsea, and things do not look like improving any time soon.

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:lol: Wrote very quickly, and in the heat of the moment. A lot of frustration (and alcohol) in there. I'll no doubt read it tomorrow and want to take it it down, but I do feel very strongly that the root cause of our problems lies with the players. They're getting paid shitloads regardless of how they play, and with Benitez in charge but announcing he is leaving in May, what incentive do they have to play for? They get paid no matter what, and as long as the manager's authority can be challenged by the likes of Terry and Cech, this club will continue to suffer from the cancer that is player power.

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But its not the same team that won the Champions league. We had malouda, kalou, Raul, and crucially THE MAN DROGBA.

So i think its a bit harsh to say the worst european champions of all time. We won it fair and square. We had our luck, but then we also had great performances along the way.

Lol, at the "rafa benitez who made match-winning substitutions in both matches against Sparta", Yet has made some of the worst team selections and substitutions and tactics of all time... :D

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We're a disgrace to football. Today's performance just showed a complete lack of class and respect for European football. If you don't want to be in the Europa league, just withdraw and take a heavy fine or something, we have no dignity left anyway. Just got back from the pub, absolutely disgusted. Even more so watching Tottenham, they have class and have taken over us recently. They are much better than us atm and will probably fuck us over at the bridge. We deserve nothing this season and that's exactly what we'll get.

We won't win this competition, we won't win the FA Cup and tbh for all the care about resting players for Sunday, we won't win on Sunday either. I can't wait for this season to end, i actually hate the team i love atm. No guts, no passion, no desire, no bottle and mostly of all, no class.

Anyway Alex, the question i understand but the whole world know the answer mate.

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:lol: Wrote very quickly, and in the heat of the moment. A lot of frustration (and alcohol) in there. I'll no doubt read it tomorrow and want to take it it down, but I do feel very strongly that the root cause of our problems lies with the players. They're getting paid shitloads regardless of how they play, and with Benitez in charge but announcing he is leaving in May, what incentive do they have to play for? They get paid no matter what, and as long as the manager's authority can be challenged by the likes of Terry and Cech, this club will continue to suffer from the cancer that is player power.

You could say all the staff get paid no matter what their performance is like -Emanalo, Tenebaum, Gourlay all on the Abramovich gravy train. The whole team needs to take a look at themselves after tonight, and it will be the Fat One who takes the rap in May if not before, so the circus will continue. i dont buy into this 'player power' thing that the meeja speculates on. Cant imagine Cech organising a mutiny in a dingy . Big Pete and Terry were about the best of a bad bunch tonight.

On the positive we'll probably turn them over at the Bridge, and in theory we could be the first British club to win all three original European trophies, but I have blind faith in Rafa to blow it if we make the Semi's anyway....

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Just look at this dire Inter squad playing at the moment to see what can happen to us.

This is why you need a manager who demands EVERY players respect and commands the locker room with the utmost authority. The players know Rafa is a dead man walking.

We absolutely have to change our management policy or we'll fade away. We need a manager to be given a long term contract so that the players will know that they have some stability and a comfort level with him.

Look how much the Spuds player love AVB. That's the kind of manager we need. One that the players go out every night and WANT to play their best for.

All of that said, if we get CL football next year there can't be another papering over the cracks transfer windows. We need match winners and midfield presence. And above all, Torres need to be sold.

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Did not read as I have to leave for a night class, but I will talk about the article title...

So what that we are the worst European Champion? We are a Champion, the worse of them all, but we are!

I am only going through this season without having a heart attack because I close my eyes and a little movie about May 19th goes through my mind....

EDIT: Pretty good article, I still dont like the title.

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We're a disgrace to football. Today's performance just showed a complete lack of class and respect for European football. If you don't want to be in the Europa league, just withdraw and take a heavy fine or something, we have no dignity left anyway. Just got back from the pub, absolutely disgusted. Even more so watching Tottenham, they have class and have taken over us recently. They are much better than us atm and will probably fuck us over at the bridge. We deserve nothing this season and that's exactly what we'll get.

We won't win this competition, we won't win the FA Cup and tbh for all the care about resting players for Sunday, we won't win on Sunday either. I can't wait for this season to end, i actually hate the team i love atm. No guts, no passion, no desire, no bottle and mostly of all, no class.

Anyway Alex, the question i understand but the whole world know the answer mate.

:worship::clap: :yes:

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Look how much the Spuds player love AVB. That's the kind of manager we need. One that the players go out every night and WANT to play their best for.

Who do our players want to play for though? Spoilt fucks being the main reason why most of our managers have got the boot.

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I really hate the title of this thread because our champion's league run was beautiful and something I hold sacred. I don't want it tarnished by the disappointments of this season, we had YET ANOTHER midseason manager switch, and to a worthless fsw at that.

My favorite player Lampard is now useless to the team because instead of giving him a deserved contract, they hung him out to dry after all he's done for the club. Now all he cares about is his scoring record (which I can only partly blame him for) because I think he believes it's the least the club could do for him.

We lost the absolutely class of Drogba, which left a hole that Torres only exacerbated and Ba could only partially fill, and now we miss that crucial #9 that a top class team needs.

Our team is young and inexperienced and many of them new to the team, and without a proper leader I barely expect them to play at their best.

But they hold so much promise, and although we overloaned, those players hold maybe even more promise and with a proper LONGTERM manager I can't see Chelsea being less than a trophy winning monstrosity in a few years with our Belgians and other young talent maturing and staying with the team. Unless we royally screw up, I am very optimistic.

I can handle a 4th place finish this year, even a trophyless one, with the prospect of a rafa and Torres-less future.

I still love this team more than could even make sense, and every disappointing game will just lead me to cheer harder for the next one.

Ktbffh! :blue scalf:

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If Torres is still here next season I might just actually stick a gun in my mouth. He has influenced the sacking of three managers and our complete and embarrassing downfall

Which managers are we talking about? If we are thinking about the same men then it isn't as one sided you make out of it.

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