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Four and much more at Nike kit event

One fan had queued for over five hours, another admitted he had skipped work to be there, with a touch of concern when he spotted a TV camera, but the rewards were there when four of our players arrived at a Nike lunchtime special in a shopping mall in central Singapore, and they heard questions being answered and had shirts signed.

There was also a spot of football freestyling as Willian, Marcos Alonso, Gary Cahill and Antonio Rudiger were challenged to show their skills. Even the Singapore national team vice-captain, Hariss Harun, turned up.

‘It was a great pleasure to meet players of such a high calibre,’ he told the official Chelsea website.

‘They’re the champions of England and it’s wonderful that they are here in Singapore and that we have the opportunity to meet them today.

‘You have to admire them because you can see they are such a difficult team to play against – so fluid in attack and strong in defence. They looked unstoppable when they won the Premier League last season and I think they are the team to look out for this season as well.’

Then questions came into Chelsea players, with Cahill giving a little insight into life back at the team hotel.

‘Generally we train a lot, we train double sessions most days so it is important we rest up but we have a few things around our hotel we do together,’ the captain said.

‘There is table tennis, a computer but we do rest when we get the chance because we are training very heavily. We also managed to go out for a team meal the other night which is good for us to bond. It is good to be away from things back home and live together as a unit.’

New arrival Rudiger was asked whether he was looking forward to the prospect of playing with the likes of Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz.

‘Of course, because I come here a young player and I can learn from those players because they have experience and they won a lot of titles,’ the German responded.

Willian was asked to look ahead.

‘This season will be more difficult than last season because we have the Champions League and we have to win titles. We need all the players, we cannot win with 11 players. We won last season and we have to do it this season as well, and I think we can do it.’

Alonso glanced back and name-checked those who helped him settle into the Chelsea environment a year ago. That question was posed by one of the fans who had won a competition to do so.

‘Gaz Cahill was always trying to help,' responded Alonso, 'the captain from last year John Terry was also a good help and all the Spanish lads and all the players, it was easy to adapt because all the players and all of the staff are always very helpful, it was really easy.’

Maybe not quite so easy but still pulled off with plenty of style was the skill challenge when members of the Singapore Under-20 national side were paired up with one of the Blues to show their talents. 

The winning pair were Willian and striker Naufal Azman.

‘It’s such a wonderful privilege to meet these star players and to have a chance to team up with Willian on that challenge. Not everyone gets that sort of opportunity so I’m really happy that I got that chance today!’

The final word though goes to Benjamin Toh, the Chelsea fan who arrived before all others at 9.45am for the meet and greet.

‘I’m really excited. It’s mind-blowing to get the chance to meet the players in person,’ he said.

‘I saw them playing in Kuala Lumpur a few years ago and wishing they would come here to Singapore. But now, they’re here and I think it’s really something that Singapore fans can be proud of.’

Elsewhere, guests of Yokohama, one of our Principal Partners, took part in a meet-and-greet session at the team hotel in Singapore last night, where they were able to pose for photographs with the players and Antonio Conte, as well as having their Chelsea memorabilia signed.

They then watched Conte interviewed by Chelsea TV's Lee Parker, with the Italian answering questions about the pre-season campaign so far.