A great wave of happiness hit the world last night as referee Michael Oliver blew the final whistle at the Hawthorns. England had turned royal blue again; Chelsea had won the Premier League title.
For some, it was more special than others. Chelsea winger Willian may have won it once already, two years ago, but this one carried just a bit more special meaning with it. Willian’s mother passed away at the start of the season. Battling through that personal tragedy, on and off the pitch, has not been easy.
"It has been a different year, indeed. Everyone knows I went through tough times with my mother's passing. I had to recover myself mentally, physically, emotionally... [These moments] definitely shake you. But I managed to bounce back after the support from my friends, family and teammates as well."
"I am really happy today. We knew it would be difficult to win the Premier League, and thankfully I had the opportunity to win my second one today. I will complete four years at the club next July, and winning a second Premier League title has always been a dream of mine. And this dream has been achieved. Now we can celebrate a little, but we have to keep our focus since the season is not over yet."
In perhaps the most touching picture to come out of last night’s celebrations, there was Willian’s father, in among the Chelsea away support, cheering on his son and the rest of the Blues. There’s nothing stronger than family.
After three seasons of being the first-choice right winger, Willian had seen his role diminish a bit this season. But like Cesc Fàbregas, he’s remained an important part of the squad, making an appearance in the vast majority of matches either as a starter or a key substitute. It was he alongside goal-scoring hero Michy Batshuayi who managed to find the breakthrough against West Brom, with Willian starting the move in transition that eventually led to the winning goal.
"It is important. Every player has their relevance within the squad. We are not composed of just eleven players. And we demonstrated that today. Batshuayi entered the game and scored the goal. He was not playing too often, but he always trained, worked and today the opportunity came for him to score. The entire squad should be congratulated, and we have to continue this mindset going forward."
-Willian; Source: ESPN Brasil
Even though the title’s won, the squad will have to also maintain the winning mindset and concentration for a couple weeks longer, with the FA Cup final still to come on May 27th. Who will be the hero that day? Willian scored twice against Spurs in the semifinal; he just might play a key role against Arsenal as well.