Chelsea secured their spot in the Europa League final on Thursday night with a victory against Swiss outfit FC Basel at Stamford Bridge. For The Blues it is their second consecutive season that will contain a major European final and although it is certainly not the one they had in mind there is still palpable excitement about meeting up with Benfica in Amsterdam to slug it out for Europe’s plate competition.
For a couple of Chelsea players it will certainly be an interesting occasion against their former clubs. For Brazilian internationals Ramires and David Luiz it will see them reacquaint themselves with some old friends.
Ramires played in Lisbon for one year in 2009-10 before moving on to Chelsea but Luiz was there more recently.
The 26-year-old played for the club until January 2011 but insists that no previous friendships will stop him from achieving his goal of a second European medal in as many a season.
‘’I have Benfica in my heart because it gave me the opportunity to come to Europe. When the game starts I'll forget everything and I want to win.’’
But while both these Chelsea talisman will be hoping to get one over on their former team there is little doubt that the former Chelsea man at Benfica will want it all the more.
When David Luiz came to Stamford Bridge he cost them a whopping €25 million; but they also threw a player who would never amount to anything into the deal just to smooth over the proceedings.
However they miscalculated; because the man they let go is now valued at €30 million and is a reported transfer target for Manchester United.
Serbian international Nemanja Matic has truly taken to the first-team this season since Javi Garcia joined Manchester City last summer. The 24-year-old midfielder has become an integral part of the side that is quite literally on the verge of winning the Portuguese title; and he is considered one of the league’s best talents.
His performances have also seen him courted by Paris Saint-Germain this week so he is certainly not a talent to be shirked at.
For him it will be hard not to take the game personally; as a chance to show Chelsea what they are missing since allowing him to leave so freely just over two years ago. With David Luiz also currently playing in central midfield we may even get to see the pair go face-to-face in Amsterdam.
A chance to truly see if Chelsea made a mistake with this colossal midfielder.
Are you looking forward to seeing Nemanja Matic play?
image: © Yoca91