Manchester City And Chelsea: From Outsiders To European Elite
Champions League finalists Manchester City and Chelsea were once the brash newcomers who upset the established European powers but they are now part of the continental elite. Pep Guardiola’s City are seeking their first Champions League title on Saturday while Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are aiming to become European champions for the second time in their history.
AFP looks at the key moments that transformed the fortunes of both clubs as they prepare for the all-English final in Porto.
Chelsea had won just one English top-flight title — way back in 1955 — before Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the London club in 2003.
The Stamford Bridge outfit were already heading in the right direction from the late 1990s, winning a handful of domestic cups, but did not mount a serious challenge in the Premier League.
The Russian oligarch’s billions were put to immediate effect as Chelsea brought in a clutch of top-class players including Claude Makelele and Hernan Crespo.
Italian manager Claudio Ranieri and his new acquisitions finished second in the Premier League in 2003/04 but that was not enough to keep him in a job, with Abramovich hungry for more.
Jose Mourinho swept into Stamford Bridge in 2004 fresh from winning the Champions League with Porto, styling himself the “Special One”.
The Portuguese proved a perfect fit, winning the Premier League in his first season in charge and retaining it the following year as the Manchester United-Arsenal duopoly was smashed.
Manchester City sparkled briefly in the late 1960s but were in the shadow of neighbours Manchester United for decades, even plummeting down to the third tier of English football in the late 1990s.
Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra bought the club in 2007 but the following year Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group acquired City and changed the face of the English game.
Mansour bankrolled a revolution on and off the pitch, bringing in superstar players — with Brazil’s Robinho the first to arrive — but also consciously building for the long-term.
Source: Football – Fairplay News
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