For two of the former Chelsea players who took part in the Legends game in Madrid on Sunday, playing in the Bernabeu was both a familiar and an enjoyable experience.
Real Madrid hosted a team of notable names from the Blues’ past who took on the Spaniards’ Legends team in a fundraiser for their Foundation. It was a game with plenty of action and goals that finished 5-4 in Real’s favour.
Ricardo Carvalho, who spent three seasons as a Real Madrid player after leaving Chelsea in 2010, played for both sides on Sunday, the first 25 minutes of the game in the all-white and the rest of it in our kit.
Juliano Belletti was in the Chelsea Legends team throughout, returning to the stadium where he had played for Real’s big rivals, Barcelona.
‘It is special, to play here, to play with both my teams,’ Carvalho (pictured top) told the official Chelsea website after the game.
‘I played more years with Chelsea, six years rather than just three, but it was great to play again in the Bernabeu. The atmosphere was very good with a lot of people and with a lot of goals and I think everyone enjoyed it a lot.
‘In the end it was important for myself and Claude Makelele to change sides to help Chelsea, for the balance of the team.’
Those watching the game were treated to a classic Carvalho advance forward from the back to be part of an attack, and it led to one of the Chelsea goals.
‘It is the way I like to play,’ he smiled. ‘I have a lot of passion for football inside of me and I need to feel good, and during the game when I feel that it is the right time to attack, it is a pleasure to do it and I still have my legs okay to go forward and to come back.’
Belletti described the match as ‘very enjoyable’ and added: ‘There were a lot of goals, a lot of legends on the pitch and this was a very good opportunity to go back to play football, especially with these guys who made history for both clubs and I think the people enjoyed it. But it was hot, and the pitch is large!’
Belletti, like Carvalho, conjured up memories of his Chelsea past with a long-range shot that came close to repeating the type of goal he smashed in against Tottenham and Middlesbrough back in the day.
‘I tried, and as the Chelsea fans know, I like to try this, especially in this kind of match because I have a lot of spaces because we are old, we are not running like years ago.
‘I play maybe one or two matches a month,’ he reported. ‘Legends matches for FC Barcelona, and games in Brazil and in China as well. Albert Ferrer [the former Chelsea defender] is the manager of FC Barcelona Legends, he started one year ago and we have a lot of matches.
‘I think Chelsea has the opportunity to do this, we know how the people like to watch these games with the old players, and the brand of Chelsea is very strong around the world – a lot of fans, a lot of new fans year by year so I think Chelsea can do the same as Barcelona.’
Carvalho revealed he is currently studying for his my coaching licence.
‘I have an invitation to be an assistant coach but I have not decided yet. My career was long, I played also until I was 39 so my first thought was to stay with my family and with my kids. They followed me everywhere I went, they even went to China with me so my first thought was now to spend some time with them, and my son wants to become a player so I try to help him to follow me, but I have opportunities to start to work next season as an assistant coach and I will decide in the next weeks.’