Chelsea almost complete Real Madrid masterplan as Antonio Rudiger reality becomes clear
Chelsea 2022 in review: football.london takes a look back at the Blues’ year, as April brings mo
Over the next week, football.london will be taking a look back at the key events at Stamford Bridge over an unforgettable 2022.
April, like March, was still dominated by the sale of Chelsea, sanctions from the UK Government on Roman Abramovich and who would take over in a very public process.
American bank Raine Group soon were tasked with setting a deadline for prospective buyers, with flurries of reports over the different consortiums coming to the fore.
Todd Boehly soon became a prevalent name in the process as he build his group to intrigue, whilst The Ricketts Family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, sparked a protest outside Stamford Bridge at the beginning of the month.
On the pitch, things started horrendously with a 4-1 drubbing at home to Brentford and a crushing first-leg loss against Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final. Those two results sparked the angriest post-match interview from Thomas Tuchel yet, effectively writing his team off before the second leg in Spain a week later.
Chelsea responded the following weekend with an emphatic 6-0 win over Southampton in the Premier League at St Mary’s.
Then came arguably the best performance of 2022 by Chelsea, winning 3-2 over Real Madrid at the iconic Santiago Bernabeu but falling short due to a fourth Karim Benzema goal in the tie during Extra-Time. Although the night ended with Chelsea players crestfallen on the turf, the performance was a high point of a challenging period.
Goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner had set Chelsea on course for the most remarkable comeback and were 15 minutes away from reaching the semi-final again. But a genius pass from Luka Modric set up substitute Rodrygo to rekindle Los Blancos’ hopes.
It would turn out to be one of three mental Madrid comebacks in the knockout stages that led them to the crown in Paris against Liverpool, coming back against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City.
For Chelsea, the season arguably ended after that energy-sapping night. A 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Wembley five days later ensured a return to the FA Cup final but soon the league form dipped suffering a damaging home defeat to Arsenal. A late Christian Pulisic winner over West Ham was a high point but failure to beat a woeful Manchester United side at Old Trafford did not reflect well.
To compound this frustration reports emerged at the end of the month that Rudiger had decided to leave the club, a by-product of the sanctions preventing negotiations over a new contract.
It became clear near the end of April that Todd Boehly’s consortium, in partnership with Clearlake Capital, had become the preferred bidder to buy the club, a much-needed boost
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