Third goalkeepers are not easy to find. More often than not, they are players in the final days of their careers, signed more for their experience and mentorship than potential qualities on the pitch. Marco Amelia, Magnus Hedman, and a semi-retired Petr Čech come to mind as recent examples.
Marcus Bettinelli breaks that mold in more ways than one. He’s just 29, young for a goalkeeper still, with plenty of good years left surely. He was a starter for Middlesborough last season in the Championship, and has had several solid seasons at that level with Fulham as well.
So what might motivate a player like him to choose to sign with Chelsea as the backup to the backup? As he tells the Chelsea official website in his first interview, it’s partly the challenge of competing against internationals, partly the opportunity to be a part of a big team playing for big trophies, and partly the potential benefits for his future career, be that at Chelsea or elsewhere.
“It’s been a dream of mine to come over to this side and it’s finally happened. [...] I wanted a new challenge [and] to be part of a massive side after the success the guys had last year. [...] I’m going to try to learn as much as I can, help the team as much as I can and do everything in my power to benefit everyone else.”
“I’m excited to work with those two top-class goalkeepers and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from them both. One of the biggest reasons for joining Chelsea is I’ve still got a lot to give. I’m only young in terms of a goalkeeper’s point of view so the fact I can learn from two keepers that have done so much in the game already even though they’re still quite young, really excites me. I know the coaching staff and the club has a pedigree of top goalkeepers so I can’t wait to be a part of that.”
Bettinelli has spent practically his entire career at friendly neighbors Fulham, and had been linked twice before with making the move up the road to Stamford Bridge. Being close to home, especially in these pandemic days, is obviously nice, but he’s certainly not here just to pick up a paycheck.
“I’m really excited to be involved and looking forward to trying to impress and help the team as much as I can. [...] This is one of the biggest clubs in the world so I’m really thankful to be here now. I have this amazing opportunity so it’s down to me to impress and do what I can.”
“I’ve moved to Chelsea for a new experience and a new challenge. This is my main focus now, doing everything that I can for the manager, the lads and for myself to do well here. Hopefully I can stay for a long time like I did at Fulham.”
-Marcus Bettinelli; source: Chelsea FC
Bettinelli signed a two-year contract, which gives plenty of flexibility for all involved. After all, you never know how things might turn out in football.
Let’s get to work!