Makelele tells Chelsea to win world's respect

May 16, 2008

Veteran midfielder Claude Makelele believes winning the Champions League would earn Chelsea respect throughout the world.

Makelele is in the perfect position to judge having played in seven Champions League semi-finals and winning the trophy with Vicente del Bosque's Real Madrid six years ago.

Now the France international is hoping to add to that success with victory over Manchester United in Moscow next Wednesday and will use all his experience to ensure Chelsea lift the trophy for the first time.

'Then Real Madrid were the best team in the world and it gave them more credit as a club,' said Makelele of the Spanish giants' 2002 triumph.

'People look at winners and say: 'This is a big team.' I remember all the teams who came to play Real Madrid in the Champions League were scared.

'They knew that they would lose but they might lose by four or maybe six goals. It would be good to see Chelsea have this power.

'It is difficult winning it but it would be so good for the players as well as the club.

'To win this competition would give Chelsea a lot of credit throughout Europe because then all the teams on the continent would respect us more.

'It is a symbol of a big team throughout Europe and the world and it is a good sensation for a player.'

Another Chelsea player to have tasted previous Champions League success with Real Madrid is Nicolas Anelka, who was part of the Del Bosque team that beat Valencia 3-0 eight years ago.

Now, like 35-year-old Makelele, Anelka is hoping for a second taste of glory with Chelsea.

Anelka, signed for £15million by coach Avram Grant in the January transfer window, has yet to win a regular first-team place and may have to start the final sitting on the bench, with Didier Drogba as the main striker.

'It is not frustrating, I am new in the club,' said Anelka. 'The manager wants to play 4-5-1 and I have to stay on the bench.

'I don't know if I will start. You need to ask the manager. Even if I am on the bench, I will have a chance to play and I will do my best.

'I hope one day I will get the chance to play my position in a 4-4-2.'

The France international believes Chelsea have enough quality to beat United and secure the trophy.

'Can we win it? Why not?' said Anelka. 'It is going to be very difficult because Manchester United have many big players. In one game, anything is possible.

'We have beaten them. We are confident. It is going to be a good game and we can do the business.

'We know it is a big game because Chelsea have never been in the final before but at the same time we have to keep calm until the day. Everybody is looking forward to it.

'I have nice memories of the final because we (Real) won. It is a special game. There was a lot of pressure but it is good to play this type of game.

'This match will stay in everybody's memories and I hope I will be a champion again.

'All we think about is winning this game. We don't think about losing. We are very concentrated.'