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Tuesday, June 19, 2012
All Blues

Norman Hubbard

Norman Hubbard is ESPN's resident anorak. If you have any questions on football facts, statistics or trivia, please send them to and he'll try to answer as many as possible I read in one of the articles about Chelsea's triumph in the Champions League that Gary Cahill said that he feels it's so crazy how he joined the club only a few months ago and has already achieved FA Cup and Champions League medals. It's such a proud moment especially for Roman Abramovich to finally get his hands on the 'holy grail' since he took over the reign in 2003. So my question is, are you able to list all former Chelsea players (under Abramovich) that have never won the Champions League trophy? Ahmad from Wellington, New Zealand asked Those who have made at least one first-team appearance since Abramovich's 2003 takeover but were not in the 18 in Munich or, in the case of John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles and Ramires, recipients of medals are as follows: Alex, Marco Ambrosio, Nicolas Anelka; Celestine Babayaro, Michael Ballack, Juliano Belletti, Yossi Benayoun, Tal Ben-Haim, Fabio Borini, Khalid Boulahrouz, Wayne Bridge, Jeffrey Bruma; Ricardo Carvalho, Carlton Cole, Joe Cole, Hernan Crespo, Carlo Cudicini; Deco, Asier Del Horno, Marcel Desailly, Lassana Diarra, Franco di Santo, Damien Duff; Mikael Forssell; William Gallas, Geremi, Anthony Grant, Jesper Gronkjaer, Eidur Gudjohnsen; Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Henrique Hilario, Sam Hutchinson, Robert Huth; Jiri Jarosik, Glen Johnson; Gael Kakuta, Mateja Kezman; Romelu Lukaku; Claude Makelele, Michael Mancienne, Maniche, Nemanja Matic; Josh McEachran, Mario Melchiot, Carlos Mineiro, Nuno Morais, Adrian Mutu; Alexis Nicolas; Felipe Oliveira; Scott Parker, Emmanuel Petit, Lenny Pidgeley, Claudio Pizarro; Ricardo Quaresma; Arjen Robben; Ben Sahar, Andriy Shevchenko, Steve Sidwell, Scott Sinclair, Alexei Smertin, Jimmy Smith, Mario Stanic, Miroslav Stoch, Neil Sullivan; Tiago; Patrick van Aanholt, Juan Sebastian Veron; Steven Watt, Michael Woods, Shaun Wright-Phillips; Yuri Zhirkov. Several of those - Desailly, Anelka, Makelele, Carvalho, Maniche, Shevchenko, Belletti and Deco - are Champions League winners, just not with Chelsea. Is Roberto Di Matteo the most successful interim manager? Is he the only interim manager to have won the UEFA Champions League or its equivalent? Are there any precedents? Hansiong from Singapore asked He is, if only because the notion of an interim, or caretaker, manager is rare, particularly for trophy-chasing sides. Di Matteo is the only caretaker to win the Champions League. The closest comparison in European Cup history is provided by Aston Villa. Ron Saunders, the manager who had won the league in 1981, left in February 1982 to manage Birmingham. Tony Barton, who had been his assistant, was promoted and won the European Cup only three months into his managerial career. However, as Di Matteo took over on March 4 this year, he was given the top job later still than Barton. Bayern Munich achieved the dubious honour of finishing triple runners-up this season. Has anyone else been as close as them? I can recall Everton's domestic "double" in 1986 (behind Liverpool's double), KahYip Tham from Singapore asked There are a couple of other clubs who achieved an unwanted treble, one from Germany. The Bayer Leverkusen team of 2002 paved the way for Bayern's class of 2012 by finishing second in the Bundesliga and losing the finals of both the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal, which led to them being nicknamed 'Neverkusen'. More recently, the Chelsea team of 2008 - which, like the Leverkusen side six years earlier, contained the luckless Michael Ballack - also lost the Champions League final on penalties. In addition, they came second, again to Manchester United, in the Premier League and were beaten by Tottenham in the League Cup final. As Euro 2012 goes on, I'm curious which national team has the most players that play their club football outside their country's domestic leagues. Conversely, what national has the most playing in that country's league? Christopher Frakes from Washington DC asked The answers are two extremes. All 23 of the England squad ply their trade at home, while none of the Irish squad does - indeed 20 of them are owned by English clubs, though Keith Andrews and Paul Green left those clubs in the summer, and a 21st, Robbie Keane, played in the Premier League last season during a loan spell at Aston Villa. After the English, three nations had 21 home-based players: Italy, Ukraine and Russia (if Andrei Arshavin is counted as a Zenit St Petersburg player. If he is classed as an Arsenal player, it is reduced to 20). At the other end of the scale, the closest to the Irish are Sweden and Croatia, each with only three home-based players. In Croatia's case, all are at the same club, Dinamo Zagreb. The full list is: England 23
Italy 21
Russia 21
Ukraine 21
Germany 19
Spain 19
Greece 16
France 12
Portugal 10
Czech Republic 8
Denmark 7
Poland 6
Croatia 3
Sweden 3
Republic of Ireland 0

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