Chelsea subs stripped down to their full kits when collecting the Europa League trophy in Baku on Wednesday night in scenes reminiscent of John Terry doing the same several years prior, and the internet was not happy about it.
There is an unspoken code of ethics, among football supporters for the most part, that a victorious player who hasn’t actually contributed on the pitch has no ‘right’ to wear the full strip after the final whistle. They can lift the trophy, they can have a medal – but they must do so wearing the official club tracksuit, or suit.
The full kit is reserved for those who affected the result, or so the logic dictates. Some players clearly don’t agree with this line of thinking and most of them seem to come from Stamford Bridge.
Much like former club captain John Terry did at the 2012 Champions League Final in Munich, several unused Chelsea substitutes opted to wear the full kit while lining up to lift the trophy (Terry was suspended for the final in 2012, it should be noted), meaning that photographic evidence will preserve them seamlessly with those who played.
Current Chelsea club captain Gary Cahill can now be added to this list, so too can reserve goalkeeper Rob Green who did the same despite never making a senior appearance for the Maurizio Sarri’s side – and the reaction was just as you might have expected.
Jesus Gary Cahill has gone full John Terry, he learned from the best I guess! #Chelsea
— Martin Coady (@KidCoady) May 29, 2019
Is Gary Cahill the new John Terry ?
— BigDraws (@big_draw) May 29, 2019
The match itself, a 4-1 victory for Chelsea, was notable for the odd atmosphere inside the Olympic Stadium in Baku in part, perhaps, due to the controversy surrounding Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s non-participation in the match but it was also notable for the departures from English football of two legendary Chelsea figures, one of whom was in an Arsenal shirt on the night.
Eden Hazard, scorer of two goals in the final all but confirmed that he is set to depart to the Spanish capital this summer after prolonged speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid. The outstanding Belgian stated in the aftermath of the game that he was seeking a “new challenge” and suggested that news on his future will be resolved when “both clubs” come to an agreement.
Hazard: “I’ve already told about my decision to the club.”
Reporter: Which club? Chelsea?
Hazard: “No, to both clubs. Now it’s up to the clubs”
Reporter: So is this a goodbye?
Hazard: “yes, I think it’s a goodbye. I’ve been here for 7 years and now it’s time for something new”
— àmmar (@ammar_hazard10) May 29, 2019
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 29, 2019
The game was also the last of the long career of goalkeeper Petr Cech who retires an Arsenal player but will be best remembered for his era of success in the blue of Chelsea during and after Jose Mourinho’s first spell with the club. The Czech, who is set to join Chelsea’s backroom staff ahead of next season, was pictured in tears after the final whistle in what was a ignominious ending to an outstanding career in English football.
Best to leave now that the ovation is loudest despite the rough season.
Can’t say that for another legend in Petr Cech. I saw tears swell in his eyes and it pricked me somehow.
No, it’s not just football; it’s life!
— Gbenga ‘G++’ Gabriel (@Computta) May 29, 2019
It’s so sad to see our manager red in the face cuz the players are not doing what he asked during the game. Even sadder to see Torreira in tears, even Petr Cech who is leaving who ppl call an “agent” is in tears smh those are the few who cared enough #UELfinal#CHEARS
— Christophe James (@SantoM27) May 29, 2019