The links between Chelsea and our upcoming Champions League opponents, FC Porto go way beyond the blue color that is prevalent in the teams’ crests and uniforms. Over the years the clubs have shared players and managers, some of whom were able to succeed on the biggest stages of football, including in the Champions League in both 2004 and 2012.
While Porto’s home ground, Estádio do Dragão has been closed since March of last year due to the pandemic, it was still able to host a fun quiz between a couple heroes of both teams, José Bosingwa and Raul Meireles, ahead of this quarterfinal matchup. The quiz may be in Portuguese, but the questions are easy enough that the auto-translated closed captions can help you keep up with what’s going on. And the camaraderie between the two is lovely in any language. (Ed.note: and MRLSH’s beard is still the GOAT.)
Bosingwa was part of Porto’s 2004 Champions League-winning squad under José Mourinho, and eventually followed the path of The Special One to join Chelsea in 2008 (alongside Luiz Felipe Scolari), where he would another Big Ears trophy to his collection when playing alongside Raul Meireles in our historic 2012 campaign. Bosingwa, who featured regularly during the group stages that season but was not preferred by Di Matteo in the knockout rounds, ended up playing the last 198 minutes of our unlikely journey, following Gary Cahill’s injury in the second leg against Barcelona and then all 120 minutes in the final against Bayern.
Meireles meanwhile, in his one and only season at Chelsea, was suspended for the final after an 89th minute yellow card in the second leg of the semifinal, but he will forever be remembered for the stellar goal he scored in the quarterfinals against Benfica (Porto’s bitter domestic rivals), and the iconic celebration that followed. (This was, incidentally, almost exactly on this day, nine years ago.)
Both Bosingwa and Meireles left Chelsea after that famous May 19th night in Munich, but reunited in 2019, post-retirement, to become teqball players for FC Porto.
And here they are together once again, in-sync off the pitch just as they once were on the pitch. Wonder who they might be rooting for in this quarterfinal...