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Born in Serbia, made in Chelsea: Branislav Ivanovic melts your cold steel heart

Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Chelsea kicked off the weekend with a wonderful bit of news, inking Branislav Ivanovic to a one-year contract extension almost exactly eight years to the day after he arrived for what was then a Russian record €13m (£9.7m) transfer fee.  It took a while for him to settle in, to say the least, but eventually he announced himself with a two-goal night against Liverpool in the Champions League and the rest, as they say, is history.  The man in charge during that fateful evening was none other than Guus Hiddink.

"He's important, one of the main characters now in this team. He has developed himself as one of the leaders. I knew him from my time in Russia, when he was playing as a central defender for Lokomotiv Moscow and went to Chelsea after that. He's become a key member of the first team and squad."

"I think he's back to where he once was [in form]. He can also play in central defence [as well as right-back], he can play easily in both positions."

-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC

Ivanovic also gave a short interview to Chelsea TV, which you can watch on the official site.  The part that should speak to your heart is when he reveals just how much Chelsea means to him.

"Means a lot, really, for me.  I always say, I was born in Serbia, but made in Chelsea Football Club, as a player, as a person as well, so for me another huge and massive step in my career."

"I hope I will give a lot for the club, to try to first get out of this difficult situation then to go back on the real way where we have to be, and try to win trophies for the club, for the fans, and for ourselves."

"The eights years have gone by really quickly.  When I go back to the beginning, it was really difficult. [...] But time goes really quick [and] when you see what you have achieved with the team, it's a great feeling and you will always be proud of that."

"I think this team still has great performances [left in them], we just need a turning point, we just need to click mentally.  We still won't give this season away; we think we can still do something positive and do great things this season.  It will be difficult, but we are ready and we are working very hard.  And next year, we need to be back on the level where this club belong."

-Branislav Ivanovic; source: Chelsea TV

After all the club legends who have left Chelsea in the last few seasons — one of whom will be between the sticks for the wrong team on Sunday, even — Ivanovic's new contract, that's Chelsea Vice-captain Branislav Ivanovic's new contract, is something to feel good about.  Football can be a cold, hard business; it's nice to be able to cherish and reward our heroes sometimes.

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