For a long time, it seemed like Ruben Loftus-Cheek would never quite “make it”.
Injuries, broken promises, circumstances out of his control. He battled through it all and he blazed the trail that many others followed in subsequent years as we built a homegrown core into a Champions League-winning side.
Unfortunately, Ruben himself wasn’t actually part of that squad in 2021-22, out on loan at Fulham to help him finish recovering from the Achilles injury that derailed his career just when it looked like he truly had burst through in 2019.
It’s that resilience, it’s that dedication and determination that I’m sure will make him a success at AC Milan, where he begins his new adventure.
To me, Ruben will always be that 17-year-old who went up against Yaya Touré in a series of post-season friendlies against Manchester City in 2013, and held his own. And also that young man who dominated with Chelsea’s youth teams in the FA Youth Cup and the UEFA Youth League. And the slightly older man who had that most wonderful 2018-19 season, especially in the Europa League.
We followed his journey closely for most of the past 19 years as fans, as bloggers, as critics, as supporters, as True Blues. He leaves us now, but he will always be one of us.
Thank you, Ruben!
“I don’t even know where to begin with this. I’ve been at Chelsea since the age of 8 and to come through the ranks and play senior football at this club… there’s just no better feeling. I’ve truly gone from being a boy to a man at this club over the last 19 years and it’s hard to say goodbye to so many people that have helped guide and shape me as the person and player I am today.
“It’s always been my dream to play for Chelsea so being able to win the FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth Cup during my days in the academy, to then making my first team debut and winning the Premier League & Europa League during my senior career, is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
“I would like to thank everyone associated with Chelsea football club who have helped me during my career. To the coaches that i’ve worked with, the backroom staff and my teammates to the people i’ve seen day to day at the training ground over the last 19 years, thank you all.
“To the fans, you’ve supported me and had my back from day one, no words will ever be enough to tell you how much that has meant to my family and I. I wish nothing but the best to everyone here and hope to see the club get back on the right path and winning silverware as soon as possible.
“It’s time for me to begin a new adventure in football, to live in a new country and experience a new culture, but I really do hope our paths will cross again in the future.
“Thank you for everything.
-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Instagram