Yesterday saw the draws for the Europa League and Champions league semi-final’s taking place in that most interesting locations of Nyon, Switzerland.
Now usually there is plenty of unwarranted fanfare around the event anyway but usually there is also a fair amount of team names to pull out the hat.
On this occasion there were just the eight teams so Uefa in their wisdom realised that filler was needed.
So what better an opportunity to wheel out a few former professionals and get their take on the competitions this season.
The likes of Bixente Lizarazu, Andoni Zubizarreta, Lars Ricken and Emilio Butragueno were all on stage at one point but the main speaker of the morning was former Manchester United striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Now while the Dutchman may just stop short of legendary status at Old Trafford it cannot be forgotten that before his move to Real Madrid the poacher had scored 150 goals in 220 games for the club; a record that cannot be shirked at.
His opinion was sought on several matters ranging from who he thought would end as top-scorer in the Champions League and who the favourites were; he even expressed his sadness at former side Malaga’s inability to qualify for the final-four at the behest of Borussia Dortmund.
But when asked who he thought were the favourites to win the Europa League the former United striker was in no doubt;
"Chelsea are the favourites out of all the semi-finalists after winning the Champions League last season."
Well thanks for your support Ruud it means a lot Chelsea fans may think. They may even be able to wipe from their memory the three goals the Dutchman scored against them during his Premier League tenure.
However on Twitter a few more bold Chelsea fans were quick to thank Ruud for something else entirely; the draw itself.
Chelsea have been paired with FC Basel and some view the Swiss opposition as the easiest target left in the competition.
However after defeating Liverpool’s conquerors Zenit St Petersburg and sending Tottenham on their way I am not sure the majority of Chelsea fans will be so confident.
What do you make of Chelsea’s semi-final opponent?
image: © Eric The Fish (2012)