In The News: Nico, Neymar & No 7

It’s been a few days now since our 6-0 opening day victory over West Brom, and as ever with Chelsea, there’s been plenty to talk about.

We start with the news that our French striker, Nicolas Anelka has been banned for 18 international matches, all but ending the 31 year old’s international career.

Anelka was sent home from the France World Cup squad for allegedly insulting coach Raymond Domenech during the half time break against Mexico.

France captain Patrice Evra was also banned for five matches for leading a training ground revolt over Domenech’s decision to send Anelka home.  As well as Anelka and Evra, the French Football Federation also banned Franck Ribery for three games, Jeremy Toulalan for one, with Eric Abidal escaping any punishment for his part in the boycott.

We at feel that although this punishment seems extraordinarily harsh, the upside for Chelsea is that the player will no longer be travelling away during the international breaks, meaning he should be fresher for our matches. Don’t worry Nico, we still love you even if the FFF don’t.

In other news, Brazilian wonderkid Neymar, reported to be the subject of Chelsea’s interest, has been in the press for a number of reasons, not least with Santos shouting loudly to anyone that will listen that we’ve been a naughty club and have tried to ‘tap up’ their player, an accusation club Chairman Bruce Buck strongly denies.

“There was no tapping up from Chelsea and I want to be clear on that.” Buck said to talkSPORT. “We are looking at several young Brazilian players and he is one of the players we have been looking at. Whether he becomes a Chelsea player at some point, who knows?”

“We are still looking at some things, whether they happen or not I don’t know. Carlo is happy and confident with the squad we have. If there is another player or two – great, if not we’re fine with what we have.”

After the indignations of the Ashley Cole affair and to a lesser extent, Gael Kakuta, for which we were exonerated of any wrong doing, and with the fact that Buck, a lawyer, is reportedly involved in the negotiations with the Brazilian club, we feel that the noises from Santos are nothing more than trying to extract more money to sanction the deal, reniscant of Jean-Michel Aulas’s tactics some years back during the Essien transfer saga.

With the media latching onto the ‘naughty Chelsea’ angle, Fleet Street editors have had their reporters ringing around anyone with the most tenuous link to Neymar to get their quotes, and in some cases (yes Daily Mail, we mean you) not bother with them at all, as in the case of Robinho and Pele, who they claim have advised Neymar to avoid Chelsea, without any comment from either stating as such.

As with everything the mainstream media writes, we’ll take it with a very large pinch of salt, and would advise Neymar of only one thing, a piece of advice from the mouth of an ex manager of ours ‘Big’ Phil Scolari; “Listen to what Pele says, and then do the opposite.” Wise words indeed.

Finally we take a look at another Brazilian, one already now settled into his daily routine at Cobham; Ramires, with news that the midfielder has elected to wear the number 7 shirt. Now we Chelsea supporters know the problems this shirt has had in the past, only too well.

With a list of players including; Adrian Mutu, Winston Bogarde, Andrei Shevchenko, Ricardo Quaresma as players who’ve, shall we say, not performed as expected, and also players such as Bjarne Goldbaek and Bernard Lambourde who weren’t the greatest players we had on the pitch.

In fact we have to go as far back as John Spencer to find a player who performed to a level expected, playing regularly, making chances and scoring goals (who will ever forget the solo effort against Austria Vienna?), but Spencer last played for us 1997, meaning the number seven shirt has had a less than illustrious history for nearly 13 years.

We hope that Ramires is the one to break the curse of the Chelsea No 7, and finally return a number so often synonymous with great players, back to it’s rightful place at Stamford Bridge.

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