In his first interview since signing for Chelsea, Moises Caicedo reflects on a dream move coming true, outlines his ambitions at the club, and explains why his humble beginnings have made him the man he is…
Moises Caicedo’s affiliation with Chelsea started as a young teenager. It was in his hometown of Santo Domingo, in the foothills of the Andes mountains in northern Ecuador, that Caicedo first set eyes on Claude Makelele.
A highly promising central midfielder, Caicedo would watch compilation videos of Makelele online, studying his positional play, and ball-winning ability. Before long, another hero of his, N’Golo Kante, joined the Blues. When a friend asked Caicedo what he would like for his 18th birthday, his response was a Kante shirt. One with his name and Kante’s on it duly arrived.
His own Chelsea shirt would soon follow. It should come as no surprise, then, that like Willian a decade ago this month, Caicedo has seen the light.
‘Makelele and Kante were an inspiration to me,’ the 21-year-old tells us on his first day at Cobham.
‘They were so humble on the pitch. I think I can say we share similar qualities, but they were better. But now I am going to give everything for this club because they did so much for me.
‘When I was a kid, I supported Chelsea and used to watch the games. Now it is amazing to be here. It is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I can’t wait to start with the guys, to give my best and to write my own story.’
Like all Chelsea supporters, Caicedo was interested to see how a new-look team under new management got on in our opening Premier League fixture yesterday.
‘I watched the game at the hotel, and I supported the players from there,’ he says.
‘The team was so good. I enjoyed it a lot. The new Chelsea players did really well. I wanted to be on the pitch with them! I like the style of football, it’s good for me. I am sure I am going to adapt very quickly.
‘I don’t hope, I am sure we are going to win a lot of titles with this amazing club, to put Chelsea where they deserve to be.’
Caicedo confirms he has had a very enjoyable chat with Mauricio Pochettino in their native Spanish, and he is looking forward to getting down to work with the head coach and his new team-mates at Cobham.
At our training ground today, though, it was all about Caicedo. Revelling in his new surroundings and the realisation of a childhood dream, he was accompanied by his mother - you will have seen the recreated picture by now! - and his girlfriend.
Caicedo is the youngest of 10 siblings. He may only be 21, but it is apparent his is a wise head on young shoulders. When we ask about his priorities away from the pitch, and the significance of this move to Chelsea in his beloved homeland, Caicedo speaks with admirable maturity and pride.
‘My family is the most important thing,’ he acknowledges.
‘They are everything for me. It is amazing to share this moment with my Mum, and my girlfriend. I am even happier to be here with them.
‘They are there for me in bad moments, and that’s why in the good moments I like to be with them. They have always supported me in every step. That’s amazing for me. They are always on my mind, even in every training session and every game. I’m a humble guy who always wants the best for his family.
‘I also know there are a lot of kids in Ecuador behind me,’ Caicedo adds.
'I have to be an example for them. I want to represent my country in the best way I can. The people there support me. They wear my shirt. They are an inspiration as well to keep working hard.’
Between his childhood love of Chelsea and two of our greatest midfielders, a desire to make his family proud, and a recognition of his stature in Ecuador, Caicedo is clearly hungry to succeed at Stamford Bridge. For Blues fans, many exciting years watching the journey of one of the sport’s brightest talents lie ahead. It promises to be a special ride.