Chelsea announce Legends game v. Inter Milan


LONDON — Chelsea will launch it’s first-ever Legends game against Italian giants Inter Milan this May at Stamford Bridge.

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The game will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their treble winning team from a glittering period for the west London club, as they won the League Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup all in the same year back in 1998.

Inter Forever, a touring group of Inter legends who have played in several matches in the past, will be the opponents on May 18 with proceeds from the game going to the Chelsea Foundation and the past players’ trust.

Dennis Wise, Gianfranco Zola, Gianluca Vialli, Marcel Desailly and other Chelsea greats are all expected to turn out to mark the occasion.

Speaking to Pro Soccer Talk at Chelsea’s Cobham training base about organizing the event, club legend and NBC analyst Graeme Le Saux revealed his excitement at getting the band back together.

“It is a team which is steeped in history at the club and the relationship with the fans and the iconic players of that group as well with Zola, Dennis Wise, Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf, everybody,” Le Saux said. “There were so many characters in that team. Putting it back together and asking them if they’d like to play a 20th anniversary game, a celebration game against Inter Milan, they all bit my hand off. I’m actually quite proud.”

The likes of Javier Zanetti and Youri Djorkaeff will play for Inter, as they were part of the team which beat Lazio in the UEFA Cup final back in 1998.

When asked if the plan was to take these Legends games overseas to the USA, Australia and elsewhere in the future, Le Saux confirmed it is something both he and Chelsea are hoping to do.

“Definitely. The club have definitely got their eye on that as well,” Le Saux said. “This was a moment in time, 20 years, having won the League Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup in 1998, but as a base to then take on a more regular program, absolutely. The club have already intimated that’s what they’re keen to do as well. Inter have got a program called Inter Forever and I think that have over 100 players on their books, so they have got quite a few players to choose from… I’ve been looking under the cushions on the sofa trying to find Gianfranco Zola!”

Another Chelsea legend from the late 1990s, Norwegian forward Tore Andre Flo, told Pro Soccer Talk that he can’t wait to play at Stamford Bridge.

“I’m very excited and I was very happy when I heard about it. I’m a little bit worried about my fitness (Flo taps both hips as he laughs off having two hip replacements in recent months) but I guess I’m not the only one. It’s going to be a lot fun,” Flo said. “At that time of our success, Chelsea, as a club, weren’t use to winning that many things, then suddenly we had a very good team but we struggled maybe with consistency over a period of time so we could beat the best ones but then lose against bottom of the table. We were a bit up and down but when we prepared ourselves properly and went for it 100 percent we could beat anyone. Maybe that’s why we were so good in the cups.”