SCHURRLE STARS IN NEW MAGAZINE
The new-look Chelsea magazine returns for the 2013/14 season this week, featuring interviews with Jose Mourinho, Marco van Ginkel, Mark Schwarzer and cover star Andre Schurrle.
In an action-packed edition, Germany international Schurrle explains just how much it means to him to pull on the Chelsea shirt, having been the proud owner of a replica Frank Lampard shirt not so long ago.
'It was my dream to come here,' the 22-year-old says. 'I always wanted to play in another country, especially in the Premier League, because I watched so many matches when Michael Ballack came to Chelsea. He and Lampard were my idols at that time, so it was a dream - and now it's come true.
'As a kid, I had a Chelsea shirt with Lampard's name on it. So, after I signed here, my mum said to me, "When you were young, you were always running around with your Lampard shirt on and now he is your team-mate!"
'I knew I wanted to come to Chelsea, so I watched almost every match they played last season. It was a strong finish and getting third place was very important to the club because it means we are in the Champions League and we don't have to go through the qualifiers.'
Schurrle is also no stranger to Stamford Bridge having made his debut in Europe's premier competition there in 2011, shortly after signing for Bayer Leverkusen and linking up with Ballack, who played for us for four years between 2006 and 2010. Chelsea were 2-0 victors that night.
'That was my first Champions League match, when we played at Stamford Bridge,' he says, recalling the evening. 'It was really great, with this stadium in the middle of the city and the fact that it was Ballack's first game back after leaving - the fans were fantastic and they gave him so much applause. It was a great experience for me, but it wasn't such a good match for my club at the time because we lost!'
New to the Premier League, Schurrle is a name it may take a little while for fans to learn, though he will be hoping he can make an instant impact. Another of our new signings has no such concerns. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has been at the top level in England for the best part of 15 years, and was delighted to sign just before our summer tour of Asia.
'I think it is a prime example of the fact that you can never say never,' he tells Chelsea. 'As your career moves into the later stages, you start to think that maybe you will never get the opportunity to play at such a big club and, in my case, the move has probably come at a time when people would say I am reaching the end of my career. So, it is hugely exciting to be part of a club of this magnitude - I am extremely excited about being here and the opportunities that lie ahead.
'I am looking forward to getting the chance to work with the team and playing my part. Obviously, Petr [Cech] is a fantastic goalkeeper and the number one goalkeeper at Chelsea, but I am here to help push him along; he will hopefully push me along and help the younger keepers at the club as well. I'm very excited about the challenges ahead. Of course, I'm also excited to have the opportunity to work with such a fantastic manager.'
That manager is Mourinho, and this month he answers your questions for the first time since returning to the club, responding to queries sent in via Twitter. If you would like to submit a question to him, simply send a tweet to @chelseafc using #CFCMag and each month this season we will pick our favourites to put to the Portuguese.
Elsewhere in this month's Chelsea, our other new signing Marco van Ginkel introduces himself to Blues supporters as he discusses his move from Vitesse Arnhem and his aims for both present and future.
Looking back to the recent past, we also speak to Petr Cech in a new feature where the goalkeeper discusses the biggest games of his career, while former Chelsea midfielder Gavin Peacock discusses his time in SW6.
For another year, Chelsea is priced at just £3.25, and as well as all the above, includes all the latest news and views from around the Bridge, including the Academy and Ladies teams, and is in stores now!