In 2009, the hype train was ruling around Stamford Bridge. Guss Hiddink, the interim boss, who had also been the manager of Russia at that time, had led Chelsea to the glory of the FA Cup and as he climbed on the horse ride off to the sunset, he had a message for Roman Abramovich, the owner and that was to sign Yuri Zhirkov.
The Moscow wing-back wasn’t a household name during that time, even though he had impressed at Euro 2008 while playing for Russia. Fans have been open-minded. However, once he was given the nickname ‘the Russian Ronaldinho’, the hysteria was in overdrive. The interest of Abramovic had been piqued and an £18m was rapidly concluded in July, making the Russian player the most expensive Russian footballer of all time. This is a record that hasn’t been broken yet. It led to a two-year spell with Chelsea that still divides opinion. Continue reading “Remembering Yuri Zhirkov’s Time at Chelsea”