Winning the Champions League, the biggest trophy in all of club football, is often seen as the apex or perhaps even the culmination of a career. That was certainly true for a prior generation of Chelsea stars, with our 2012 triumph the clear ultimate goal for the Old Guard, achieved at long last after nearly a decade of trying (and a decade of winning just about everything else), on a glorious Munich night, against all the odds. Written in the stars, and all that jazz.
That certainly was not the case a few months ago, when we won got to lift Big Ears for the second time in history. For most Chelsea players, including for many of the team’s biggest stars, it was the first big triumph of their senior professional careers: Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Timo Werner had never won a senior trophy before. Christian Pulisic had one.
In 2012, it was the end of an era. In 2021, it’s the beginning of one.
And for those young players, it’s just the start of a long and hopefully winning career. In twenty years, Kai Havertz certainly doesn’t want to be looking back at the winning goal on May 29, 2021 as the lone highlight of a misspent career.
“[I’ve] always wanted to score such an important goal, and in the end, I think it was one of the most important for the club.
“But my life has to go on. And I don’t want to speak every day about the Champions League goal. I don’t want to sit here in five years and think ‘ah, five years ago you scored this goal’.
“I want to have new challenges and then at the end of the career, you can think about what all happened. Now this year is a new challenge for me.”
-Kai Havertz; source: Sky
That primary new challenge is the Premier League — though surely no one would say no to repeating in Europe — with Chelsea playing catch-up to Manchester City and Liverpool since 2017. We’re off to a good start in that regard, though obviously it’s still very early.
But the winning mentality has to be in place from day one.
“[Just] because we won the Champions League we can’t just say this year we’re going to win [the Premier League]. Of course we have the quality, we have the players to win the league but it’s not about saying that after the fourth game, it’s too early to say it.
“We’ve also said we’re the hunters of Liverpool and City, because they’ve showed in the last few years that they are unbelievable and we want to show that we are ourselves after the Champions League title.”
Believe in the unbelievable!
"I don't want to speak every day about the Champions League. I want to have new challenges."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 18, 2021
Kai Havertz reflects on last season and the challenges he faces in this campaign pic.twitter.com/X5SIa0V37Y