For Abramovich, he tried the Tinkerman, the Special One, the director of football, the World Cup winner, the European Cup winner, the Champions League specialist, and the young upstart – but, in the end, it took the caretaker to win Europe’s biggest prize for Roman Abramovich. Di Matteo, former MK Dons boss and sacked by West Brom before becoming Villas-Boas’ assistant, came in to steady the ship, to hold the fort until the summer when a ‘proper’ coach could be found, one who could propel the club into the owner’s dreamland.
Di Matteo’s final game as interim manager since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas ended with a dramatic 4-3 win on penalties against Bayern in their own Allianz Arena after the game ended 1-1. He was warmly embraced by owner Roman Abramovich as they collected the trophy the Russian has wanted ever since he started pumping his millions into Stamford Bridge nine years ago.
“Football is crazy and unpredictable and I don’t think anybody could have predicted what has happened in the last three months. I feel great and I’m pleased for everyone connected with the club.” -De Matteo
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Petr Cech, who saved a penalty from Arjen Robben in extra-time and another from Ivica Olic in the shootout, said: “It was a rollercoaster ride, we all enjoyed it. “When it goes to extra-time there is pressure and I thought Robben would go for power and shoot that way.
“Today I faced six penalties and six times I went the right way. Whatever happens to Di Matteo he has got two fantastic cups. He’s done enough to get the job but now it is up to the board to decide.”
Ashley Cole claimed a Champions League winner’s medal at the third attempt after defeats in 2006 with Arsenal and 2008 with Chelsea. He said: “I’m lost for words. We should have probably lost the game with the amount of chances they had. “We rode our luck but you need luck in this competition if you’re going to win it.”
Accused of being an “actor” by some because of his theatrics, this time he put in a performance more in keeping with the power and poise which has made him such a feared opponent for defences. He scored with a bullet header to equalise against Bayern before converting the crucial penalty for Chelsea’s victory.
While there is plenty to admire about Drogba’s qualities on the pitch, it is a tribute to the 2006 and 2009 African Footballer of the Year that he uses his fame to try to bring peace to his native Ivory Coast. He is one of the 11 members of Ivory Coast’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and, although his team-mate Frank Lampard was talking about his value to Chelsea, he also summed up what he means to so many.”He is a hero,” Lampard said.
“It was [fate],” said the 34-year-old, whose penalty to clinch Chelsea’s victory may be his last kick for the Stamford Bridge outfit. “I believe a lot in destiny. I pray a lot. It was written a long time ago. God is wonderful. This team is amazing,” said Drogba.
“Didier Drogba has been the best centre forward of his type, certainly in the Premier League, for the past eight years,” former Manchester United defender and Sunderland manager Steve Bruce told BBC.
. Bayern had never lost a penalty shootout in a European cup competition -four victories.
. English clubs have only lost penalty shootouts against other English clubs.
. All five previous finals in the Champions League era that featured extra time were all decided by a penalty shootout.
. Didier Drogba has now scored 45 European goals, most among current Chelsea players. Lampard is on 24 and Fernando Torres is on 15.
. Thomas Mueller becomes the first German to score in a Champions League final since Stefan Effenberg in 2001.
. Bastian Schweinsteiger’s yellow card was the fastest ever in a Champions League final.
. No London club has ever won the Champions League. Only five European capitals have produced a winner – Madrid (9), Amsterdam (4), Lisbon (2), Bucharest (1) and Belgrade (1).
. Arjen Robben is not the only player that has played for these two clubs. Others are Michael Ballack, Claudio Pizarro, Brian Laudrup, Erland Johnsen and Mark Hughes.
. Ryan Bertrand will be making his European debut tonight. He is the first player to make his Champions League debut in a final, but not the first to make his European debut in a European Cup/Champions League final. 30 years ago, Nigel Spink made his European debut for Aston Villa, who beat Bayern Munich in the 1981/1982 Champions Cup final.
- English: Champions League Final: Petr Cech is penalty king as Chelsea become European champions (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Chelsea beat Bayern to claim Champions League title (sports.ndtv.com)
- Chelsea and Abramovich reach the promised land (melosport.com)
- Chelsea preparing for cup parade (bbc.co.uk)
- Champions League Final 2012, Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: Didier Drigba The Hero As Chelsea Lift The Cup (seattle.sbnation.com)