It’s probably safe to assume that the last three years have not gone exactly as Baba Rahman would’ve ideally liked them to go. Back in 2015, he was one of the more outstanding left backs in the Bundesliga, earning rave reviews for his performances for a surprising Augsburg side and catching the attentions of big clubs around Europe, including the Premier League champions.
José Mourinho’s Chelsea were looking for a backup left back to César Azpilicueta, and the then 21-year-old Ghanaian international seemed like a quality addition who could offer something different at the position. Unfortunately for him, his attacking prowess coupled with defensive weaknesses meant that neither José Mourinho nor Antonio Conte rated him, and while he might have been a perfect fit for the 3-4-3 that Conte eventually settled on, he had already decamped on loan to Schalke for the season by the time Conte made that fateful tactical change.
Further misfortune befell the youngster six months later, when he tore his ACL and his meniscus while playing for Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations. He would be out of action for most of the next 18 months. His Chelsea career was already lying in tatters, and now so were his ligaments.
But Baba’s made of sterner stuff than to let such things complete derail his career. He rejoined Schalke in January, made his return to the pitch on the final day of last season, and has now started three of Schalke’s first five games in all competitions. It’s validation to not give up on your dreams, even if they include getting ostracized by Chelsea head coaches and then the injury gods themselves as well.
Despite these series of unfortunate events, Baba only has nice things to say about Chelsea and the opportunities that his transfer to the club three years ago has opened for him.
“As one of the best clubs in the world Chelsea gives many players the chance to fulfill their dreams and become a better football player with that system. Me for example I’m able to play at Schalke in front of 60,000 people regularly now, which helps me a lot in my development as a player.
“You can never say where football will guide you to. Maybe I stay for the next 10 years at Schalke but I also can imagine playing for Chelsea again. But at the moment I don’t think about these things, I’m really happy at Schalke.”
And that’s a good thing since Chelsea have seemingly moved on in the meantime — the left flank now belongs to Marcos Alonso, with Emerson backing him up. Chances are that Baba’s future lies in the Bundesliga, if and when his loan is turned into a permanent move. Still, he will always remember his time at Chelsea fondly, especially thanks to a certain dressing room clown.
“Sometimes before a game [Hazard] told me what he had planned for that game and he always made it later. He is really a clown. He always makes fun when we are in the dressing room or at dinner. He’s a funny guy who always makes people laugh around him. We don’t have to talk much about Eden’s qualities, he shows in every game that he is an amazing player.”
-Baba Rahman; source: Goal.com
Schalke have not started the season very well, but at least the now 24-year-old left back appears to be back healthy and ready to resume his career. Best of luck to him!