The programme for tonight’s Champions League opener against Zenit St Petersburg has exclusive interviews with two defensive rocks for Chelsea in the competition, as Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Carvalho talk about their experiences at Stamford Bridge.
Chilwell takes readers through his magnificent first season with the club and the road he has taken to European glory, from a young boy sat in front of the television dreaming of getting his chance to the ultra-reliable Chelsea left-back we watched celebrating with the trophy in his hands in May.
‘Watching the Champions League was always the thing you’d look forward to on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening,’ he tells the programme. ‘You’d get back from school and you’d be looking ahead to the games.
‘That was what made you really know about Chelsea Football Club, when you’re only 13 or 14 years old and you watch them winning the Champions League. Obviously it’s a massive thing and hopefully us winning it last season has done the same thing for kids that are that age now.’
He also explains how that trophy triumph in Porto last season has given the whole squad an appetite for success.
‘It gives you that taste of winning silverware and I think I’m probably speaking for everyone in the squad and on the staff – when you win one thing, you want to go on and win more.
‘We’ve all got that hunger in our bellies this season that we want to win again. I want to look back on my career when I’ve finished and say that I’ve won everything that there is to win, and I think that’s why we’ve come back this season and we’re all even hungrier and more confident.’
Carvalho, meanwhile, took us back to the days of his arrival at Chelsea in 2004, when the club was in the midst of a transformative period in which we became one of the biggest clubs in world football. They were heady times for a new arrival in English football.
‘It’s a rare thing to have in football, to be there at the beginning of something very special. But to also know big things are getting ready to happen,’ he explains. ‘Everything that I saw that summer was all about that. It was pretty incredible now that I look back.
‘I arrived at Chelsea when it was a club that had something to prove. You could just feel that about the club. It was a summer that built everything for the season that was to come when we would win the title.’
Elsewhere in the programme, club historian Rick Glanvill continues his Rising Sons series by looking closely at the development of Andreas Christensen from coveted young centre-back to Champions League-winning star.
Don’t forget to pick up your copy from the programme sellers at the ground, or order a copy online here to have it delivered to your door.