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The Jose Bosingwa Report - The One and Only


O Most Exalted and Gracious Unibrow: Hallowed Be Thy Name.

Your scintillating attacks and pinpoint crosses terrorized Premier League defenses.

Your defensive positioning and awareness made even Paolo Maldini jealous.

Your powerfully groomed Unibrow lasered opposing wingers into shrunken nothingness.

Your enthusiastic, spotlight-hogging celebrations drew universal smiles across the Chelsea fandom.

You lit up our world with pure awesomeness for four seasons...and now you're gone.

One of only two Chelsea players to have won the Champions League twice (see also: Paulo Ferreira, who was the starter in 2004 for Porto with Bosingwa on the bench), Jose Bosingwa made 126 appearances, scored 3 goals and won 2 FA Cups. He raised expectations and broke hearts. He broke himself a few times as well, missing out on a Premier League & FA Cup Winner's medal in 2009/10 as well as a trip to the World Cup with Portugal.

None other than Jose Mourinho once signed our favorite Unibrow (just 20-years-old then), although he would not become a starter at Porto until The Special One brought along Paulo Ferreira to Stamford Bridge. Back then, Bosingwa was regarded as a right-winger/midfielder or even forward - this is one of those factoids that I had no working knowledge of...but now that I do, it's very much a "that explains sooo much" moment - of course, such trifle designations matter little to Mourinho (hey there, John Obi Mikel!). Converted to a right wing-back, Bosingwa was instrumental to Porto's continued domination of the Primeira Liga. Soon he had the attention of Europe's elite.

Chelsea beat Manchester United to the signature in May of 2008, just ahead of the two teams' fateful encounter in Moscow. Bosingwa had long been a United target, having caught the attention of Ferguson's then #2, Carlos Queiroz. The final winning offer was to the tune of €20.5m. At the time, he was Chelsea's 11th most expensive transfer (now, 17th).

Bosingwa was arguably at his best in 2008. With Portugal, under Scolari's guidance, he earned a spot on UEFA's Team of the Tournament at Euro 2008. This coach-player partnership continued to bear fruit when Scolari left his national team post to take up the mantle at Chelsea. The wing-back would even score a couple goals (his first one especially typical of his great forward/direct runs) as Chelsea took the league by storm for the first dozen or so matches. Power, pace, stamina - Bosingwa had it all.

He retained his starting position under Guus Hiddink as Chelsea salvaged their season with an FA Cup trophy. And while we all remember Didier Drogba's "disgrace" protests at Ovrebo - i.e. PASSION! - it is worth noting that the only other player to receive a suspension out of that was Jose Bosingwa ("I don't know whether he's a referee or a thief").

His stock was at its highest, his name (along with the likes of Maicon, Dani Alves, et al.) frequently thrown around when discussing the best right backs in the world. He shut down Lionel Messi. He attracted strong interest from the likes of Bayern Munich (possible player exchange with Franck Ribery was a hot rumor), but Chelsea were reluctant to sell and Carlo Ancelotti considered him a starter. Then knee injuries struck and things would never be the same again.

By the time Jose had recovered, a full calendar year later, Branislav Ivanovic had entrenched himself at right back. Lack of consistent playing time exposed the Portuguese's defensive failings, high profile gaffes (such as losing Ryan Giggs for Rooney's goal v. Manchester United in the Champions League Semi Quarterfinal, 1st leg) drew the fans' ire. After being credited with 6 assists in his first season, his production dropped to just 1.

Much like the new manager, Bosingwa started the current season strongly. Andre Villas-Boas's new system was exciting and attacking and the one thing we could never fault Bosingwa for was keeping things exciting. He even scored a goal! It was 2008 all over again! Alas, we all know how all that would end.

The new system exposed the defense and while Ashley Cole had similar struggles on the left edge, it was Jose Bosingwa who drew the most vitriol. It is hard to deny that he lacked awareness - his best defensive displays came when he was played out of position (left back v. Messi in 2009; center back v. Spurs & Gareth Bale; center back v. Barcelona), when he was "forced" to concentrate more than usual. His crossing was legendary for its waywardness, failing both the eye and the statistics test - Opta/ credited him with 130 cross attempts in the Premier League this season, 2nd most on the team, but just 21 successful ones: good for 16%, or third worst after Ramires and Daniel Sturridge (and those two together attempted fewer than Bosingwa by himself).

Bosingwa started only 5 matches under Roberto Di Matteo so the writing had definitely been on the wall. I'm sure very few fans will lament his departure a great deal. But as one of the heroes of the Nou Camp, playing in a makeshift defense, then as the right back who survived the Ribery/Robben onslaught in Munich, and, of course, as the man with the most glorious eyebrow(s) of all, he will forever be a part of Chelsea lore.

Good luck, Jose Bosingwa Da Silva, wherever you may land. May your next destination offer plenty of opportunities for glorious charging runs up the right touchline and plenty of flabbergasted opponents at whom to wag the Unibrow. I'll miss you.


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