On this day: Solid investments
Inside Blue Tue 16 Jan 2018
January 16 was the day both Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill walked through the doors at Stamford Bridge, in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
The defensive duo went on the become stalwarts for the Blues – Cahill still is, of course, - and have both picked up an array of winners medals during their time in a Chelsea shirt.
It’s interesting, looking back, to see both players highlight upon signing on the dotted line that they were moving to the Bridge to ‘win things’ and spoke of their delight at joining a ‘big club’.
A host of trophies later, it’s fair to say that both players did exactly what they set out to do in west London.
‘It is the dream of any player to improve and the ultimate is to play for such a big team as this. Chelsea fans will expect me to play well and give my all for the club just like any other player. They will expect exceptional discipline and dedication and I hope I can give them what they want. That is my aim every time I play for Chelsea.’
Those were the words of Ivanovic the day he penned a contract with the Blues. It’s fair to say, he gave us that and more each time he pulled on the shirt…
His versatility meant he was equally adept in the centre of defence as on the right, and he performed with incredible consistency in both positions. He was always highly valued by managers, team-mates and supporters alike, who recognised his exceptional commitment to the Chelsea cause, as well as his happy knack of finding the net.
It was Ivanovic who popped up with the amazing winning goal against Napoli when our run to Champions League glory in 2012 caught fire, and it was Ivanovic who headed the glorious injury-time winner in the Europa League final the following year.
Ivanovic was outstanding during the title-winning 2014/15 campaign and played all but a few minutes of the 38 games, again named in the Team of the Year.
He captained on occasion towards the end of his Chelsea career, testament to his leadership qualities and love for the club. In total he made 377 appearances during his nine years in west London, scoring 34 times.
Meanwhile, Cahill had this to say after joining from Bolton in 2012: ‘Chelsea is a massive club, it is a club that looks to win trophies season in, season out and it is a big opportunity for me to be a part of that. Opportunities like this, you can't turn down.’
In his six years in west London, the now-Chelsea skipper has picked up as many major trophies – and isn’t ruling out adding to that collection this season, as we battle with Manchester City for our Premier League title, as well as still being in contention in the Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
A no-nonsense central defender who is fierce in the tackle, quick and brave with his blocks, and a fine reader of the game, Cahill was rewarded for his move south with two winners’ medals in his first six months in west London, including in his maiden Champions League venture.
He emerged as a first-choice centre-back at international level while also adding a Europa League winners' medal to his collection and he was a pivotal figure during 2013/14 as the Blues kept the best defensive record in the Premier League.
A Premier League title and League Cup win in 2014/15 meant Cahill had rapidly assembled the full set of club honours and he was the on-pitch skipper for the title win in 2016/17.
It’s fair to say, they both proved more than value for money whilst in the blue shirt…