"I think Claude has this kind of gift - he's been the best player in the team for years but people just don't notice him, don't notice what he does. But you ask anyone at Real Madrid during the years we were talking about and they will tell you he was the best player at Real. We all knew, the players all knew he was the most important. The loss of Makélélé was the beginning of the end for Los Galacticos... You can see that it was also the beginning of a new dawn for Chelsea. He was the base, the key and I think he is the same to Chelsea now."
"Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?"
It seems as if the worst has, indeed, come true. According to Sky Sports, Claude Makélélé has flown to Paris this morning in order to undergo a medical ahead of his long-rumored move to PSG. All I can say is, I'm gutted.
The 35-year-old has been linked with the Paris club for nearly the entire summer. And, although he still has a year left on his current contract, it looks as if his five-year tenure in London has finally come to an end.
It's safe to say Maks will go down as a Chelsea legend. The man the holding midfield role has since been named after moved to Chelsea in 2003 for £16.8 million. It's easily Claudio Raineri's best contribution to the club -- and likely one of the best pieces of business Chelsea has ever conducted. Hey, just ask Real Madrid.
Since his move to London, Maks has made close to 220 appearances for the club, serving as one of the most pivotal pieces during the club's emergence as a genuine European contender. He even capped the club's first Premiership title campaign in 50 years when he smashed in the rebound off his own missed penalty against Charlton during the 2004-05 season.
Makélélé is undoubtedly my favorite player. His competitive spirit. His tenacity. His willingness to remain in the shadows. Maks is just on another level for me. I'll miss him more than most.
Then again, maybe this is just a rumor and my man will hang around for another year. Well, if not, here's to the best holding mid of all time. We wish you the best. You'll always be in my XI.
Below are a few videos featuring Makélélé the great: