"When you go one by one, first with two goals against Liverpool, I think it changed my career here at Chelsea. It gave me confidence, and proved that I could play at the top level in the Champions League."
-Branislav Ivanovic; source: Chelsea FC
Since those first two goals against Liverpool in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2009, Ivanovic has made a habit of scoring important goals for Chelsea. He's got 30 in total for the club, in 303 appearances -- 3 in his last 6 -- and many of them on the biggest of stages. That goal against Napoli in the epic comeback. The last-minute winner in the Europe League final. Game winners in the Premier League against Blackburn, Aston Villa (three times, including 10 days ago), Sunderland, and of course Manchester City. The goal that got us to Wembley against Liverpool in League Cup semifinal. Not bad for a converted center back who for a long time was known mostly as a solid defender and a terrible crosser of the ball.
So what's the secret to his success? Is it the unbridled enthusiasm? The cockeyed optimism? Perhaps the boundless passion pouring out of him with every blue-bleeding moment? Striking tips from young Stefan? Whatever it is, Ursus Branislavicus isn't telling.
"If I said, it's not going to be a secret."