London Blues: Go around the globe and ask Chelsea fans to pick their best 5-a-side team. 99% of them won’t blink twice before picking at least 4 of them, including one each for the three different outfield positions.
And when all of them come from the same generation, one needs to thank their stars ford how lucky the club was and what a legendary team they formed. John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba – names that terrorized the opposition, names that brought out the best of the teammates, names that gave millions of fans hope at their lowest times.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 30, 2022
The first man was a true defender in the traditional sense of the role – harassing the opposition attackers, excellent in aerial duals, not afraid to put his body in the line of fire, armed with sensational last man challenges, and always a threat in the rival box from set-pieces.
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Fearsome old-school defender off the ball, excellent composed modern-day ball-playing passer on it – John Terry was the best of both worlds, perfectly epitomizing football’s modern-day duel of style and philosophy. The title of Premier League’s highest-scoring defender ever is a fine feather on a magnificent crown.
The second name is that of Super Frankie Lampard – Chelsea’s Mr Reliable. Chelsea fans would trust only him with a penalty kick if their lives depended on it. The man due to whom the majority of fans fell in love with the club – the man with both artistic craftiness and steely strength, Lampard was in a league of his own.
Stunning long rangers, exquisite freekicks, inch-perfect passes, tireless defensive work – even the term and complete footballer; probably will fail to justify the genius of Premier League’s highest-scoring midfielder as well as Chelsea’s all-time greatest goalscorer.
The third name, the first line of attack, a man for the big matches – Jose Mourinho’s surprise signing turned out to be the biggest trump card Chelsea ever had. It wasn’t always easy though. For a man of his calibre, a few more goals per league season were expected but whenever the moments of truth came, the King of Wembley rose to the occasion, every single time.
When Juan Mata swung in that corner, Drogba set off, away from the goal, pushed on his way by the Bayern defence – a few seconds later, Neuer was beaten, so was Munich. The last shot of the tiebreaker never looked doubtful. It was always going in, it was written in the stars. Didier wrote it in the stars.
When these three departed eventually one after another, we did not just lose three world-class legends. We lost three professionals who inspired those around them and led by example and spirit – the Chelsea spirit of determination and perseverance.
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 30, 2022Advertisement
Captain Lampard inviting suspended Terry to lift the Champions League trophy with him, the players carrying Lampard through a difficult time after his mom’s passing away and Lampard repaying that faith in a European Semifinal, Lampard and Terry helping Drogba through his initial difficult English days – these three made each other and everyone better.
“Being around players like Frank and John and to see the way Frank was dealing with the press, always clean, a gentleman, I think it helps. You have to take it as an example and for me, he was a big example.” – this quote of Drogba applies to himself as well.
Clubs resorting to unethical ways to acquire or keep players, footballers revolting against managers, agents acting like bosses, players pulling out all tricks possible to move on to greener pastures – there is a lot of things wrong with football today.
And every time one or the other of such instances comes out, we can only sigh and look at the giant image of Lampard, Drogba, and Terry in a huddle, crying after a certain historical 2012 night in Munich and realize, “They don’t make them like that anymore. Lampard is already back home in a different role. So is the legendary Petr Cech, the last man of the quartet. Here is hoping that one day, Terry and Drogba join them too. Dreams have never been sweeter.