Played for both: Five footballers at Chelsea and PSG this century
Chelsea could perhaps count themselves lucky to have edged PSG out on away goals in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals.
This term these two meet in Europe’s elite club competition a round earlier as the knockout phase gets underway, and that got Coral’s football experts thinking. Who since 2000 has played for both?
Jose Mourinho’s men are 7/4 to win the first leg at the Parc des Princes and odds-on 4/11 favourites to advance from the tie, while Laurent Blanc’s boys are 6/4 to take a lead to Stamford Bridge, but 2/1 outsiders to progress.
We did some digging and discovered five footballers who count the Blues and Parisians among their former club. Who are they? Read on to find out!
Current AC Milan centre back Alex had to wait three years to make his Chelsea debut after signing from Santos in 2004. He didn’t have a work permit to play in England at the time, so spent those seasons on loan at PSV Eindhoven.
Alex was worth waiting for, as he helped the Blues to three major trophies, but later forced a move to PSG in the winter window of 2011/12 when Andre Villas-Boas froze him out. In Paris, he added two Ligue 1 titles to his honours before a San Siro switch last summer.
Relive Alex’s memorable Champions League free-kick in the 4-4 against Liverpool from 2009:
‘Le Sulk’, as the tabloids nicknamed this French forward, began his club career at the Parc des Princes before joining Arsenal. Anelka later returned for a second spell in Paris in 2000 when a move to Real Madrid didn’t work out for him.
Following several subsequent changes of scene, it was at Chelsea (2008-12) where Anelka perhaps played his best football, with a Premier League and FA Cup double among his honours from 2010.
Now, here’s one player who divides opinion. Should a cultured, set-piece taking centre back, who looks just as adept if not better as a midfield anchorman, be indulged and given freedom to roam?
Luiz looked like the sale of the century last summer when Chelsea cashed in on him, and he then skippered Brazil to a shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final demolition at the hands of eventual winners Germany.
While this is a stain on his character that will not come out in the wash, PSG purchased a player that won three trophies at the Bridge in as many seasons (2011-14). Luiz, a Champions League winner with the Blues in 2012, could come back to haunt Mourinho in this tie, and is 7/1 to score anytime.
See Sky Sports pundits and Luiz himself discussing his free-kick technique:
Before Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic, Serbia supporters still had reason to cheer Chelsea as controversial striker Kezman spent the 2004/05 campaign in west London.
Prolific for PSV Eindhoven, he struggled to recapture that blistering form for Mourinho, so was moved on to Atletico Madrid. Next club Fenerbahce then loaned Kezman to PSG in 2008, and he made a permanent switch the following year before moving on yet again to Zenit St Petersburg.
We’ve perhaps saved the best until last. If you want a measuring stick for greatness in defensive midfield, then who better than the man who lends his name to this position, often colloquially called the ‘Makelele role’?
Easily the best of France’s Golden Generation to miss out on those 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 triumphs, Makelele more than made up for that by becoming one of Real Madrid’s Galacticos.
Premier League fans were privileged to see him spend five seasons at Chelsea thereafter (2003-08). It wasn’t about goals, with Makelele grabbing just two in over 200 outings in Blue before ending his club career with PSG (2008-11) after winning back-to-back Premier League titles at the Bridge.
Check out this collector’s item from Makelele against London rivals Tottenham: