Pep Guardiola strode onto the Stamford Bridge pitch in purposeful style. The Man City head coach had simply watched his gamers document a powerful 1-0 win courtesy of a Kevin De Bruyne purpose. It was an announcement victory for the aspect that may go on to win the 2017/18 Premier League title.
There had been hugs aplenty for the jubilant City stars from Guardiola. He additionally doled out a number of commiserative handshakes to Chelsea’s stars. Yet when the Catalan approached Blues defender Andreas Christensen, his method modified.
Guardiola embraced the Dane, leaned in shut and spent ten seconds in hushed dialog with the younger centre-back, who had produced an assured show in the center of the Chelsea defence. It was one more signal of Guardiola’s appreciation for Christensen’s abilities.
“We met once I was in Germany, once I was at Gladbach and when he was at Bayern Munich, and he asked me then if I used to be blissful,” Christensen tells soccer.london in an interview forward of tomorrow’s Champions League closing in which Chelsea will take on Guardiola and Man City for the most important prize in European soccer.
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“I instructed him I used to be having fun with my soccer in the Bundesliga, which was nice for me as a result of I used to be 18 years outdated at the moment. Then once we met in the Premier League, he asked, ‘what about now, are you continue to blissful?’ There wasn’t something actually to it however it was nice for me as a younger participant. Obviously, I used to be blissful on the time.”
Guardiola was far from alone in his admiration of Christensen’s abilities. During his early teenage years, the Denmark worldwide drew consideration from golf equipment throughout Europe whereas in the youth system of his boyhood aspect Brondby, for whom his father, Sten, performed as a goalkeeper.
Arsenal, Manchester City and Bayern Munich had been all in signing Christensen at simply 15 years outdated. Yet it was Chelsea who satisfied him a change to Stamford Bridge was the proper transfer. A deal was introduced in February 2012, simply three months earlier than the Blues would win the 2012 Champions League closing.
Christensen stays a Chelsea participant 9 years on. His determination to depart residence at such a younger age has been vindicated.
“It was laborious in the start, I’m not going to lie about that. It was extra being away from associates, you possibly can’t simply name them up and go over to their home,” he explains. “It was tougher for my household than for me as going aboard was one thing I’d all the time dreamt of.
“It was a bit of childhood dream of mine to play for the Brondby first crew however I feel I knew fairly early I wished to go overseas and selected Chelsea. Brondby had been very understanding, they let me go totally free which was nice.”
Christensen’s first season at Chelsea was spent in the youth crew, working with the wonderful coaches at Cobham and entering into first-team coaching when required.
His second noticed him usually concerned with the senior squad below Jose Mourinho, who would information the Blues to the Premier League title.
Christensen made solely three appearances throughout that marketing campaign however spent numerous hours on the coaching pitches learning from the likes of John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic.
He made an impression. Back in 2014, Terry stated TV2 Sporten: “Believe me, I’m positive that he [Christensen] shall be a high footballer and one of many future males for Chelsea.”
(Image: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC by way of Getty Images)
“At that point I appreciated it,” Christensen replies when asked if he felt such an announcement put stress on him.
“I knew it was going to be laborious to get in from the youth crew however with the likes of Petr Cech, JT, Ivanovic was an incredible position mannequin, Cahill, [Nemanja] Matic, who was considered one of nicest I’ve ever met – I all the time thought these Serbian guys are actually laborious however it was the exact opposite.
“So we had lots of people [that helped]. Didier Drogba then got here again too. We had a variety of position fashions.”
Christensen’s innate expertise was past doubt however he solely bought his break at Chelsea after a two-season mortgage spell at Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga – throughout which he starred in the Nou Camp towards Barcelona, receiving the best ranking mortgage officer Eddie Newton ever gave a efficiency.
Antonio Conte, having misplaced religion in David Luiz, positioned Christensen in the center of his again three and was rewarded with constant efficiency after constant efficiency. He would make 40 appearances throughout the 2017/18 marketing campaign, essentially the most he has managed in a marketing campaign for Chelsea.
The final three seasons have not been easy for Christensen. His talent set appeared ideally suited for Maurizio Sarri’s possession sport however the Italian most well-liked Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz in his again 4.
Frank Lampard, in the meantime, typically chosen Kurt Zouma alongside considered one of Rudiger, Christensen or Fikayo Tomori final time period. And competitors for locations was solely ramped up additional in the summer season with the arrival of Thiago Silva.
It wasn’t till Thomas Tuchel arrived, and destiny intervened, that Christensen was given a sustained run in the beginning XI as soon as extra. In Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in February, the Brazil worldwide suffered a thigh harm and had to get replaced in the center of the again three.
Christensen was the plain substitute. He would go on to begin 17 of the next 22 matches and helped Chelsea maintain 13 clear sheets. Several Blues supporters started to name him the ‘Danish Maldini’.
Yet the 25-year-old believes there’s extra to come back. “I really feel like I get shut [to my best] however I nonetheless suppose I can get higher,” he says. “I’ve been enjoying loads and rising loads. I do not know what will occur in the longer term so I simply attempt to get pleasure from each sport.”
(Image: PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP by way of Getty Images)
Given his performances in latest months, Christensen will understandably be hopeful of beginning the Champions League closing towards Man City on Saturday.
The drawback is that he isn’t featured in Chelsea’s final 4 matches due to a hamstring harm sustained, considerably sarcastically, towards City earlier this month.
The Blues gained that assembly between the 2 sides on the Etihad Stadium, coming from behind after Raheem Sterling had scored a controversial opener in which Christensen had suffered his harm.
“In my head, and as a result of I might hear them celebrating, I keep in mind pondering, ‘oh man, what a time for it to go’,” he admits. “That was my preliminary thought. In the times after once we had the scan, they confirmed it wasn’t too dangerous. So it was simply counting the times [of his recovery].
“The plan was all the time to get again this week and possibly get a couple of minutes earlier than the ultimate. Fortunately, it did not take extra time than we anticipated.”
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Chelsea go into tomorrow’s closing as underdogs. City are the reigning Premier League champions and completed 19 factors forward of the Blues. Yet that win on the Etihad and the Blues’ victory over Guardiola’s aspect in the FA Cup semi-final final month has given supporters hopes that one other victory might be secured.
“I feel we simply stepped as much as the events in each video games,” Christensen says. “We have been doing properly, attempting to play our sport. We prefer to have the ball however we all know they prefer to have it as properly.
“So we attempt to take it from them and play our sport. I do know individuals are saying we are able to use it [the previous two matches], however generally the ultimate is simply totally different. Anything can occur. That’s our mindset.”