Four goals. A victory for Chelsea Legends over Bayern Munich Legends. And an almost full house at Stamford Bridge. It was certainly a fitting way to remember the late, great Gianluca Vialli.
Several of the players Vialli played alongside or coached during his time at Chelsea returned for the fixture, which was also a celebration of our 2012 Champions League victory.
The proceeds from the match are going to the Chelsea Foundation - the club’s charitable foundation - and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
The charity supports the work of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, which was where the iconic former Chelsea forward was treated for cancer prior to his death in January.
Fans based in the UK can still donate directly via their phone. All that's needed is to text the word LUCA to 70085. You should receive confirmation that your donation was successful.
For supporters outside of the UK, you can donate directly on the Chelsea Foundation’s Just Giving page, which you can access by clicking here.
Both sets of players gathered pre-match at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel. There was an unmistakeable buzz, a feeling only generated on a matchday, for those who would once again pull on a blue shirt.
Not even the sweltering heat could diminish the excitement. Supporters gathered outside the stadium; Vialli chants consistently broke out.
Robbie Di Matteo – who played alongside and under Vialli, and also coached us to Champions League glory in Munich – was back in the Stamford Bridge dugout to oversee the Blues.
'We tried to get as many from the 2012 team as we could,' the former Blues head coach said ahead of the game. 'Unfortunately some couldn’t make it because they are working with teams or coaching or busy with the international games.
'But all the ones who could make it did and I think the fans will love to see all these guys on the pitch today.
'I think it is the right place to pay tribute to Gianluca because there are a lot of players here as well who have played with him or have been coached by him. It is a beautiful celebration.
'We want people to celebrate football, life and pay tribute to Gianluca. It’s all about celebrating his career and everything he achieved as well.'
The emotion of the day ramped up pre-match. Luca's wife, Cathryn, and two daughters Olivia and Sofia, were joined on the pitch by those who treated our Italian legend at the Royal Marsden.
Opera singer and boyhood Chelsea fan Stuart Pendred, who performed at Vialli’s wedding, then delivered a stirring rendition of Nessun Dorma. There were more than a few tears shed by those inside the stadium.
The football then took centre stage. Di Matteo named nine of our 2012 Champions League winners in his starting XI and it was clear from the early stages they were ready to inflict another defeat on Bayern Munich.
John Terry, who naturally captained the side, flew into an early challenge on former German international Piotr Trochowski. As he made his way back into position, there was also a friendly barge into former Blue Claudio Pizarro.
The Chelsea supporters were in fine voice throughout. There was a rousing ovation for Petr Cech when the goalkeeper finally had a touch of the ball and constant applause for John Mikel Obi, who looked as fit as he did in Munich in 2012.
A goal was needed. A favourite provided it. Ramires was given time on the ball to pick a cross and his delivery was met by the head of Michael Essien. He powered a header into the bottom corner. Goalkeeper Tom Starke had no chance.
Our lead was doubled moments later – and it came from our Captain, Leader, Legend. Terry strode forward from defence, knocked the ball out to Florent Malouda and then made his way into the penalty area.
Malouda hit the ball hard across the penalty area and Terry was able to poke the ball past Starke. That the goal was scored in the 26th minute of the contest made it that little bit more special.
The Vialli chants continued. The football entertained. After 30 minutes came the half-time interval. It was an opportunity for the players to cool down back in the Chelsea dressing room.
Out on the pitch, however, the entertainment continued. Chelsea fan and musician Suggs performed Blue Day and there were interviews with Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Sinclair and Sam Hutchinson.
Shortly before the second half began, Gianfranco Zola addressed the Chelsea supporters. Their adulation for the little Italian has not changed in the 20 years since he left the club.
There were a handful of changes made by Di Matteo, but it didn't impact Chelsea's dominance. The Blues controlled the game and Sam Hutchinson – who is contracted to League One side Reading – forced Hans-Jorg Butt into a smart stop.
Malouda then tested the Bayern goalkeeper as Chelsea pushed forward in search of more goals. Yet it wasn't until the final changes of the game, and the introduction of Zola to a mighty roar, that the Blues added to their lead.
Our third goal of the evening was struck by Gary Cahill. The assist went to Tiago Mendes but it was Zola's deft lifted pass that opened up the Bayern defence. It was a moment many of those in attendance wanted to see.
Zola was also involved in our fourth goal. He played a pass out wide to Essien, who clipped a pass over to the advancing Tiago. The Portuguese took a touch and expertly finished over Maximilian Riedmuller
The full-time whistle was blown moments later and the Chelsea players embarked on a lap of appreciation, which was led by Terry. Zola ended without his boots or shirt while countless autographs were signed.
Terry was presented with the man-of-the-match award; it was handed to him by Olivia and Sofia.
Cathryn then presented the trophy to Terry, who lifted it alongside his teammates for the evening. Freed From Desire echoed across the PA, a little nod to our second Champions League win of 2021.
For all of the players, it was a night to remember. 'I have so many great memories from this stadium so to get back out there in front of the fans and surrounded by the players we saw today was an honour,' said Gary Cahill.
'It was a fantastic night, I think it went it went absolutely brilliantly. It was a celebration from start to finish. It was an excellent night.
'I never had the honour and the privilege to play with Gianluca Vialli or to have been coached by him, but many in that changing room did and you can see what a special guy he was.
'I thought it was fitting today that we could celebrate him, his legacy at the club and him as a person.
'The start of the game was quite emotional to be honest. He was a huge legend and character at this football club and more importantly, from what the lads said, he was a fantastic human being. So again, I was honoured to be a part of it.'
Chelsea: Cech (Hilario HT, Cudicini, 46); Gallas (Sinclair HT), Cahill, Terry, Bertrand (Harley HT, Essien 57); Mikel (Leboeuf 57), Essien (Makelele HT), Morris (Hutchinson HT, Tiago 57); Ramires (Granville 41), Kalou (Zola 57), Malouda (Flo 41, Casiraghi 57)
Chelsea substitutes: Gudjohnsen
Scorers: Essien, 23; Terry, 26; Cahill, 60; Tiago (60+3)