GUSTAVO POYET

Gustavo Poyet


 

Gustavo Poyet arrived in a Chelsea side whose fortunes were changing in 1997, the Blues fresh from our first trophy win for 26 years, and the Uruguayan midfielder with his goals, his exuberant celebrations and infectious enthusiasm was an important part of four memorable years that followed.

An instant hit with the fans, his season looked to be over just two months in due to a cruel cruciate injury, but recovery was rapid enough to score a tie-changing goal in a Cup Winners' Cup semi-final and play in the triumphant final in Stuttgart.

Important goals became a Poyet trademark. He netted a Uefa Super Cup winner and the goal that qualified Chelsea for our first Champions League campaign, plus both goals in an FA Cup semi-final.

Goals were numerous too, with 14 scored from midfield in his second season when had he not missed three months due to an injury inflicted by a bad foul on Boxing Day, many fans believe Chelsea would have won the league.

Great run-timing and an athletic spring made him lethal in the air and he had abundant technique with his feet, but Gianluca Vialli's decision not to start him in the Champions League defeat against a Barcelona side he knew well from playing Spain left him with a heavy heart, and although he scored 12 goals in his only season under Claudio Ranieri, he fell victim to the new manager's wish to revamp the squad.

He was sold to Tottenham as a 33-year-old for £2m and was soon beating his former club in a cup semi-final, dimming his legend in the eyes of some Chelsea fans but 49 goals in 145 appearances was a fine goal ratio for a midfielder, albeit one maintained by effectively his replacement, Frank Lampard.

 


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