Who else remembers Ricardo Carvalho?

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Chelsea legend Ricardo Carvalho is one of the greatest defenders the Premier League has ever seen. The Portuguese was a cult hero at Stamford Bridge and formed a massive partnership with John Terry in the heart of the Chelsea defence.

It’s so easy to forget how brilliant Carvalho was, and Chelsea legend Pat Nevin has looked back to remember the world-class defender that is rare to find these days.

Nevin wrote in his column for the official club website: “The thing is, along with many Chelsea fans at the time, I thought that Ricardo was one of the best defenders we had ever seen, not just at Chelsea but anywhere. The trophy haul throughout his career bears this out. Three league titles in his six years at Chelsea, but he also won the Portuguese Primeira Liga with Porto before he arrived and La Liga in Spain with Real Madrid after he left us to join their new manager, one Jose Mourinho. With Portugal he got to the final of the Euros in 2004 in his home country but then lost to the shock outsiders Greece. He also won the UEFA Cup against Celtic with Porto, with Mourinho of course.

“Ricardo did have those lethal dark arts at his disposal, we all knew that. He was an asset to the team in an almost Jason Bourne sort of way. If you got hit by Ricardo, you tended to stay hit. He wasn’t just an out and out football assassin, his true world-class ability above all his other attributes was his uncanny ability to read the play and see where the danger was likely to develop from. That usually meant winning the ball clean and if someone had to feel the force of the tackle after he won the ball, then so be it. There are a very few players who have this ability to an almost supernatural level and they are not all defenders. Claude Makelele had it but so too has N’Golo Kante.

“John Terry had that innate ability to read danger as well. With him and Ricardo together at the heart of our defence and Makelele there too, beating them must have been like trying to outwit a bunch of muscular, physical psychics. It is worth remembering that first season in 2004/05, the defence lost only 15 goals in the Premier League. That is still an astonishing statistic and not surprisingly still the record.”

Nice job Nevin! Legends like these who get off the spotlight after their playing days are so easy to forget, but should never be forgotten.

About the Author

VICTOR N
Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.