Adios, Ricardo

If there ever was a list of Chelsea players who overstayed their welcome, and left as shadows of their iconic former selves, Ricardo Carvalho would feature prominently on it. Not that the West London club are an exceptionally heartless side, all-too-eager to trample over the careers of stars whom it has deemed no longer crucial to its ambitions.

While all Chelsea fans are truly grateful for his services to the club, to many he’ll always be a prime example of a player who should’ve called it quits a long time ago.

Unlike other Mourinho-era wards, Carvalho failed to make the transition successfully across successive managerial changes. While he was too important a figure to be seen as falling out of favor, he was nevertheless deemed not exactly irreplaceable once lesser-accomplished stars began to churn in reliable performances in his absence. Furthermore, he wasn’t exactly a certain ‘John Terry’ for the club to bend over backwards in an attempt to keep him from leaving.

Aug. 01, 2010 - Frankfurt, Hessen - Friendly,..Eintracht Frankfurt vs. FC Chelsea, 01.08.2010..Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea .
The latest casualty of the Portuguese Exodus

Once the Scolari-era wound down, the club was well and truly fed up of the overt Portuguese presence. Jose Bosingwa had to turn in stellar performances as a bombarding fullback, before the club faithful decided he was worth keeping even though not too many will moan his subsequent sidelining by Ivanovic. Deco, Ferreira and Carvalho on the other hand – either thanks to their runs of poor form or terribly-timed injuries – ended up on the wrong side of history.

Make no mistake. There is a concerted attempt to weed out the Portuguese influence from the club; with Bosingwa all but forgotten, Deco out, Ferreira pretty much a glorified water-boy these days and erstwhile superstar Ricardo Carvalho leaving for Madrid.

Since the heady days of 2007/08, when he was crowned the club’s best player, it’s all gone downhill for him. At the peak of his powers, Terry and he combined to create a formidable partnership in central defense. Terry, the slower of the two, made up for it with incredible positional sense and quick reflexes – while Ricky was the livewire, always ready to dart in with a quick challenge or two, and the impetus-provider for Chelsea’s counter-attacks. As his limbs grew older, and the ligaments began to creak, Ricky lost everything that made him such a feared member of the Blues squad.

The once feared partnership was looking suspect and seemed no longer top choice for the managers-du-jour. Branislav Ivanovic and Alex, both stepped up, and proved to more than adept replacements for Carvalho – in defense and attack. Far from being overawed by having to play in Carvalho’s position, the two of them may have even proved the unutterable – that John Terry may himself be, dare we say it, replaceable.

The last straw – or the final nail in his coffin, as it were – was his failed attempt at stopping Tevez’s equalizer at The Bridge, when City thrashed Chelsea 4-2. Tracking back way too late, leaving too much for Terry to do at the last minute, and grabbing his head in dismay when he should’ve been throwing in a last-ditch effort to stop the ball crossing the line only served to remind everyone how way-over-the-hill Ricardo truly was.

Aug. 08, 2010 - Madrid, C.MADRID, Espa  a - MADRID, 08/08/2010.- Real Madrid's Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, arrives at Barajas International airport in Madrid, Spain, 08 August 2010, after the team's tour through the United States.Rekindling a former flame

Carvalho’s move to Madrid is certainly without a doubt, a great move for all parties involved. Jose Mourinho gets to work with a trusted lieutenant in defense, Chelsea gets money in return for a star they probably would prefer seated on the bench, and Carvalho gets a shot at resurrecting his career.

He deservedly walks out of Stamford Bridge with his head held high, and a round of applause ringing in his ears. What he won’t hear is the palpable sense of relief among the Blues faithful, on managing to ship out a former superstar with minimal fuss, no media-fuelled circus theatrics and no bad blood.

  • Howard Roark

    @ Author

    Two things –

    1. Riccy didn’t overstay his welcome. Chelsea needed his experience last season. It was unfortunate that he got injured. Alex and Ivanovic, even though had potential, needed some guidance. For that, there was no one better than a thorough professional like Carvalho.
    However, this season Alex and Ivanovic are 100% ready to step into his shoes; they’ve matured and now we can think of a CFC defence without the Portuguese.

    I would just say – Thank you Ricky, for everything! :)

    2. Ferrierra is such a gentleman. Have you ever seen him crib/complain in his entire tenure at the club? The answer can be nothing other than ‘NO’. He has always patiently waited for his chance, and whenever he has got an opportunity, he has given his 100%. That was good mostly, but sometimes yes, he did make mistakes. But, we should not call him a “glorified water-boy’ for god’s sake.

    The lad has been a good squad player for us – play at both rightback and leftback.

    I have nothing but respect for both of them.

  • Prithwish

    Was the best defender for the BLUES in his 6yr period at Chelsea except may e the last season.
    Torres once said “He is the toughest defender i have ever come across”

  • Abhishek

    A “glorified water boy” is the worst thing you can say to Paulo. A faithful servant and a LEGEND in every sense. Gives you a 7/10 performance every single time. I’m sorry, but that was seriously not needed!

    Although this article was for Riccy, I cant but comment on the way Paulo was named! Sorry!!

  • I find the “glorified water-boy” remark disrespectful to Ferreira. Don’t forget the fact that he is still a quality defender who plays regularly for his country. Inspite of that, he has always been a very loyal servant to the club, one who never complains, never makes it to the back pages of the tabloids inspite of being frozen out of the first starting eleven for long. Whenever called to the sqaud, he does a decent job primarily as a defender. Over the last month of the previous season, when Ivanovic was out injured for a month, his contributions were vital in helping Chelsea beat United to the title. Agreed he is not getting any younger. Also with Ancelotti acknowledging that he is looking to bring in another rightback in to the squad before the end of the transfer window, even his time as a ‘glorified water boy’ seems to be coming to an end.

  • I agree with @Sita, the guy has even played at Left Back for Chelsea. A very consistent player, never an outrageously good player, but plays within his limitations.

  • [email protected]

    Carvalho will be apt for the (a bit) slower and more technical Spanish League.
    Real Madrid, for a change, is being pragmatic :)

  • rajarshi

    In the terry-carvalho partership, the latter was the less glamourous of the two, doing the dirty work behind terry and cleaning up the mess once the captain was beaten for pace or had gone too forward in attack….although his presence may not be missed as such, he can indeed be regarded as a Chelsea legend in his own right, as 6 yrs of faithful service suggest. And similarly Ferreira no longer the first choice, came in and did a decent job whenever required and it would be an insult to call him a water-boy!!

  • kunwar !

    @ author: pitty good status report on chelsea’s defending Army.ricky Carvalho had always been an unsung hero at the club. i just would like to thank him for whateva he has done . (community shield header \,,/ ). the comments about paulo were a bit harsh. he has been a gr8 servant for the club. +1 with wat abhishek mentioned.

    transfer just gave me another season to support Real in SPL, adding to various other reasons. 😛

  • Ol’ Faithful

    If you read carefully, the author says there is a concerted attempt to demean or reduce the Portuguese influence culminating in Deco been given the boot, Carvalho sold, Bosingwa forgotten and Ferreira (being treated) as a glorified water boy.

    Folks here have defended Ferreira’s willingness to do anything the club asks him to. Doesn’t that indirectly mean Paulo has ALWAYS been given the shaft?

    He IS being treated like a water-boy.

  • Prithwish

    Another point to be discussed is that Bosingwa is not forgotten, its just that he is injured. Once fit am sure he will be back in the playing 11.

  • A Blaugrana

    What’s with people looking for various reasons to support Real Madrid (and in turn JMO)
    When will Chelsea fan’s understand that if JMO meets them in UCL, he won’t spare them. Just like he didn’t last time 😐

  • Amazing post.