In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Chelsea have reportedly secured a place in the expanded Club World Cup in 2021, Karen Carney outlines why Willian is such an important part of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side and a training ground effort by Marcos Alonso gets plenty of attention on social media.

These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.

Chelsea slated to play in expanded Club World Cup

According to the New York Times, Chelsea will be one of 24 teams invited to compete in the inaugural version of an expanded FIFA Club World Cup in China in 2021.

Citing football officials with knowledge of the FIFA council’s intentions, the paper reports the decision is to be confirmed in a vote during a council meeting later this week before the awarding of the hosting rights is announced in Shanghai on Friday.

‘European soccer officials, who had strongly opposed an expanded tournament for clubs when the plans were raised, now appear set to go along, and to provide a third of the teams in the expanded tournament,’ adds the New York Times.

‘Under FIFA’s plan, Europe would have eight places in the 24-team field. South America would have the next largest allotment, with six, and the remainder would qualify from the other regional confederations.

‘Europe’s eight places are expected to go to the winners of its two top club competitions — the Champions League and the Europa League — over each four-year period. Under that proposal, the participating teams from Europe would include the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid.’

Carney on the importance of Willian

Writing in her column on the BBC Sport website, Karen Carney has outlined the importance of Willian in bringing experience and a sense of balance to Chelsea’s youthful side.

The former Chelsea Women midfielder believes the Brazilian’s experience will be an important factor for Frank Lampard’s side in the Champions League clash at Ajax on Wednesday as ‘he can give you a bit of magic at any time’.

‘Everyone knows his qualities and he's showed it year after year,’ adds Carney. ‘It's no surprise that when he comes into the team, results improve. They have won five of the seven games he's started this season.

‘I've watched Willian in games in recent seasons and there would be times when he's running across the 18-yard box and you were thinking, “why is he doing that?”. He was waiting to be fouled - there are so many free-kicks in key areas that he has won and either he or somebody else has scored from them. He does it on purpose.

‘And the difference with Willian is that a lot of players just pass, pass, and pass. He is a ball-carrier. It's sometimes the best way to get up the pitch because it takes the relief off the team.

One of the best things he does is slow the ball down when he's running at defenders. The art of that is it gives the opponent a respite but he is always in control of the ball. He then beats them with his skill.

‘Young players' enthusiasm, energy and drive is great but you always need a bit of experience. Those players, like Willian, who is 31 now and N'Golo Kante, who is a World Cup winner, are important when it comes to game management.’

Alonso free-kick video goes viral

After scoring our match-winning goal against Newcastle last weekend, Marcos Alonso has drawn even more attention with a video of an outrageous training ground free-kick which has been shared on Instagram by the club and player.

The video footage shows Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero climbing on a goalpost at Cobham, and hanging onto the crossbar while wrapping his legs onto the upright to form a small target on the top right corner.

Alonso then lines up a dead-ball from 20 yards and duly finds the net without either touching his team-mate or the frame of the goal before exchanging a high-five and hugs with the Argentinian.

'When you need your bro @willycaba to train free-kicks but he trusts you,’ states Alonso in his post which had nearly 1.5 million views within 12 hours and was also shared by a number of media outlets including the Daily Mail and The Sun.