SHEVCHENKO KEEPS BIG NAMES TALKING IN LATEST CHELSEA MAGAZINE
There can be few better indicators of Chelsea's increased standing on the world football stage than the cover pictures carried by Chelsea magazine this summer. Following on from Michael Ballack on July's edition, shortly after the Bundesliga's top player had signed, comes the arrival of Serie A's brightest star.
In an exclusive seven-page interview in the new, August edition, Andriy Shevchencko confirms that Chelsea's ability to tempt him to the Premiership must have been a big shock for the giant clubs of Italy.
"Obviously it was a very important decision for me and Milan," he tells Chelsea. "It could be the first time that a player has left the club in the prime of his career, so in a way this was not normal.
"I don't think it was a painful divorce. I can only thank Galliani and the chairman Silvio Berlusconi because they always behaved very well with me. They also understood the reason I was leaving was not money related, it was the mix of a new challenge and family reasons."
In what is the only major interview he conducted in England after putting pen to his four-year Chelsea deal, the Ukraine marksman reiterates what he said before the transfer; that language and family were prime motivations for the move. This time he goes into more detail.
"For me it's difficult to speak the language, but I can follow and understand your English. My wife speaks to my son in English and we all want to be able to have a conversation in English. I hope in three or four months we will be able to do this.
"I'll be speaking your language every day at the training ground soon and for me it's very important to be able to communicate with my new team-mates, coaches, media and fans in English. My family speak English, Russian and Italian, two languages for a young child is hard, three is really difficult, but we'll get there eventually. My life is here now so I have to learn quickly."
The game of darts, the current training ground craze is something Shevchenko will also have to brush up on, although he tells Chelsea that he has played before. He mentions other sports he used to play and Italy's famous fashion designer Giorgio Armani.
His rapport with the Milan fans and their attempts to change his mind are also discussed. But Chelsea's new record signing recognises that it is his relationship with Jose Mourinho that will be crucial from now on.
"I've always been told that he's a serious professional and a very nice man," he says. "When I met him, that was confirmation of this and even more. He said some kind words and I am very happy that Mr Mourinho said them, especially as they are words coming from one of the best managers in the world.
"He's a very interesting person to talk to. I am looking forward to proving on the field that he was right about me. I have spoken to him for a long time and I feel that he is a very special person and a very clever man, as well as someone who knows a lot about football."
The three other players who also signed during one hectic week as May turned into June ? Salomon Kalou, John Obi Mikel and Hilario - speak to the magazine too and there's a chance to catch up with a defender who was a new signing 43 years earlier ? FA Cup-winning substitute Marvin Hinton.
Plus for a summer flavour, there's a look at athletics at Stamford Bridge both past and present, including a meeting with Paula Radcliffe in the Chelsea Health Club.