Former striker Hernan Crespo spoke highly of his time at Chelsea in an interview with Gianlucadimarzio.com and highlighted the differences between Italian and English football.
The Argentine built a formidable reputation for himself in Serie A after joining Parma in 1996 from River Plate, despite getting off to a disappointing start in Italy.
Crespo soon blossomed in Emilia-Romagna and went on to score 86 goals in all competition for the Ducali across four seasons, winning the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup.
Lazio would snap him up for a then-world record fee in 2000, with the Argentine moving on to Inter in 2002 after the Biancocelesti ran into financial problems.
One year on, Crespo landed in England with Chelsea, although he would never truly find the form that elevated him to world class status as a Serie A star.
Crespo did manage 12 goals between Premier League and Champions League action, but would spend three of his final four years on Chelsea’s books on loan in Italy.
Despite being considered a flop at Stamford Bridge by some, Crespo had only kind words on his spell with the Blues as the London outfit celebrated its 110th birthday.
He told Gianlucadimarzio.com: “I had a fabulous experience, where you live a fantastic version of football that is completely different [from Serie A]. Things are serene, joyful and there is less pressure compared to what I was used to when I lived in Italy.
“Certainly within the club and the team you could feel the right amount of responsibility like there should be in a big club. But overall there was a calmer atmosphere in a country that still lives for football.
“In the first season at Stamford Bridge there was Claudio Ranieri and I didn’t play a lot. Then in 2005 with Mourinho it was fabulous. I was very comfortable with him, he knows very well how to lead a strong team.
“That was a team with great champions like Terry, Lampard, Drogba, Robben and Makelele. I scored 10 goals that season and I was able to give a strong contribution.”
Even in making some important contributions at AC Milan and Inter while owned by Chelsea, Crespo was unable to recover the consistency that once made him prolific.
Crespo saw out his playing career where it all began in Europe, with Parma, with whom he is now coach of the Primavera side – though the Ducali are in the midst of financial disaster.