BROADENED HORIZONS IN NEW MAGAZINE

Posted on: Tue 10 Nov 2009

Just as the international break comes to snatch club football away from us for another fortnight, so arrives the new edition of Chelsea magazine, to keep the minds of all Blues fans occupied for at least the next month.

Cover star this month is Deco, whose path to Stamford Bridge has taken him from Brazil to Spain, via a naturalisation period in Portugal, but he explains, it very nearly wasn't to be.

First of all the diminutive playmaker almost didn't make it as a footballer, giving up his dream as a 14-year-old in his country of birth, instead taking up futsal, a small-sided indoor variant of the game, as a hobby as he embarked on a brief career in the car manufacturing industry.

'I stopped playing normal football,' Deco reveals in the cover feature. 'My dad was working in a Mercedes factory at the time, so I decided at that moment to just play futsal and work. I didn't know whether I could be a footballer and I started to do this course with Mercedes. But after two months I decided, "No, it's not for me" and tried to become a footballer.

'Many things from my way of playing came from futsal. I don't control the ball like this [points at the instep of his right foot], I step on the ball because in futsal it's normal,' he explains.

'Also, you always attack and defend, there's no time to rest. Sometimes in normal football the ball is on the other side and you rest. In futsal it's all the time and this was good for me. You need to think and do things quickly, decide before the ball gets to you where you will pass. These are all things which help you in football, especially if you are a playmaker.'

It certainly aided his rise to prominence which came at Porto under Jose Mourinho. Together the pair lifted the Uefa Cup and then a year later the Champions League before going their separate ways - Mourinho to SW6 and Deco to Barcelona - despite rumours that the manager might want to bring the precocious talent with him to London.

'At that time I wanted a different challenge. I wanted to go somewhere that was completely new, with a new coach and players,' Deco concedes to Chelsea.

'Barcelona at that time was the best challenge for me. If I came here with Mourinho, who knew me well and what I could do, it would have still been fantastic. But I needed something new.

'This is important, it develops you as a person and a footballer. When one coach knows you, you still have to work every day, but you are aware that he knows what you can do. You might not train well one week, but he knows you. There's nothing to prove to him. When you arrive in a new place with a new coach and players, you need to prove again. I think it's good for yourself.'

That might just be the reason why the midfielder has recaptured some of his best form under Carlo Ancelotti, and with the Blues sitting proudly at the top of the table, he is clearly not alone.

Magazine Dec 09

Another who has shown his capabilities when called upon is back-up goalkeeper Hilario, who reveals to Chelsea just how much he loves a pressurised situation, as well as his penchant for the English obsession with clean sheets.

'This was something new for me when I came here that I hadn't experienced before,' he tells the magazine.

It is a Blues goalkeeper from another era that takes us through his Stamford Bridge career, as Peter Bonetti commands the A-Z section with all the ability and confidence 'The Cat' was renowned for during his time here.

From his 729 appearances all the way through to Zoco, the Real Madrid forward whom he shut out to seal the 1971 Uefa Cup Winners' Cup, Bonetti has plenty of memories of his 19 years at the club, and even a few more on his England days.

As well as all this, Carlo Ancelotti returns to answer your questions, admitting his days of joining in with training are behind him, but that he hopes to learn a bit of Cockney rhyming slang in the coming years.

Magazine Dec 09

In addition, there are all the regular Chelsea news, features and competitions for you to enjoy, all wrapped up in one very convenient monthly magazine for the modest sum of £3.25.

Chelsea is available now from the club Megastore, in an online version or in all good newsagents.