On January 16, 2008, Chelsea signed Branislav Ivanovic from Lokomotiv Moscow. It worked out rather well.
His nine-year spell at Stamford Bridge had everything, from scoring the winning goal in a European cup final to being bitten by Luis Suarez.
Going from being an outside choice at centre-back to cementing his place as one of the greatest right-backs of the Premier League era, Ivanovic was a joy to watch in England’s top flight.
We love him, Chelsea fans love him, and here’s why.
In nine years at Stamford Bridge, Ivanovic won nine major honours (and a Community Shield).
And he certainly played his part in the success – he was twice named in the Premier League team of the season, once in the Champions League equivalent, and also earned the man of the match award after scoring the winner in the 2013 Europa League final.
You know those players, who whenever your team plays against them you absolutely hate, but if they’re playing for your team then you absolutely love.
Ivanovic loves a tackle and knows how to play a little bit dirty when the referee’s head is turned, and we can’t help but admire that.
Some defenders just seem to have that knack for being in the right place at the right time, and Ivanovic knows how to finish a chance as well.
He scored 34 goals in all competitions during his time at Chelsea, though none of them were as good as this recent effort in the Europa League.
That’s right, he even earned a nickname because of his goalscoring.
His brace in the Champions League quarter final against Liverpool, while still hovering around the fringes of the first team, immediately gave him a firm spot in Chelsea fans’ hearts.
One thing you certainly can’t deny is his immense passion, and that’s best typified whenever he’s thumped one into the back of the net.
There’s something about Ivanovic’s steely persona that makes him seem quite a serious guy.
But as he and fellow Chelsea team-mates film for an appeal video, something about that seriousness seems to tickle Eden Hazard.
Ivanovic is heralded as one of the greatest right-backs of recent Premier League years, but he was signed as a central defender.
Only when first team opportunities were hard to come by and right-back Jose Bosingwa got injured was he asked to fill in, and boy did he do that well.
This is still painful to watch.
Just why, Geoff, why?
Erm, yeah. We’ll leave it at that.
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) January 15, 2018
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