Chelsea’s UEFA Europa League destiny is in their own hands as their 3-0 victory against Dynamo Kiev in the first leg has provided a comfortable cushion going into the away trip on Thursday.
Maurizio Sarri’s side are currently unbeaten in four games across all competitions, and this run of good form looks set to continue as they aim to finish off Kiev to advance to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
With The Blues three goals to the good on aggregate, Sarri will be hoping to rest key players with one eye on the English Premier League away trip to Everton on Sunday.
Ahead of the second leg, we have looked at the only player who has a connection with the two sides, but it’s a big one.
Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kiev 1994-1999 and 2009-2012, A.C. Milan 1999-2006 and 2008-2009, Chelsea 2006-2009)
When it comes to Chelsea, Andriy Shevchenko’s career at the club seemed somewhat of a disaster. His less than impressive three-year stint at Stamford Bridge did nothing to outline the brilliance of the Ukrainian.
Although Kiev wasn’t his original home city, he moved to the capital with his family at a young age, and several years later, he caught the eye of Dynamo Kiev.
Things started slowly for the forward, but he quickly made a name for himself with the second team. This earned him his first call up to the senior side in 1994, at the age of 18.
Shevchenko took the Ukraine by storm, he scored a memorable hat-trick against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League and in his last season with the club, he scored 28 goals in all competitions.
The World At His Feet
In the summer of 1999, Italian giants AC Milan came calling for the hitman and he joined for a club-record fee at that time.
Sometimes the weight of the world would be on a player’s shoulders after such a huge move, but not Shevchenko. In his first season with The Rossoneri, he helped himself to the Serie A Golden Boot with 24 goals in 32 league games.
His performances in front of goal continued in the second season as he scored 24 goals in the Italian league, as well as nine UEFA Champions League goals.
At this point, the Ukrainian looked to have the entire footballing world at his feet, however, an injury setback in the 2002/2003 season meant that he couldn’t continue his sparkling run of form.
In the same season, came the crowning moment in his then short career. He won the UEFA Champions League for the first time and scored the winning penalty against Juventus.
The following season it was business as usual as he finished the 2003/2004 campaign as Serie A’s top goal scorer with 24 goals. His trophy haul was getting bigger by the second, as AC Milan won the Scudetto (Serie A) for the first time since his arrival at the club.
The year of 2004 saw a personal high for the talisman as he won the coveted Ballon D’or and was also named in the FIFA 100, a list devised by Brazilian legend Pele which includes the greatest living footballers.
However, the 2004/2005 season turned out to be one of the most disheartening as AC Milan reached the UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool, but Shevchenko’s penalty in the shootout was saved by Jerzy Dudek which allowed the Merseyside club to lift the trophy.
After seven years in Italy, the striker finished on an astounding 175 goals in all competitions, as well as a having won one Serie A title, one Coppa Italia, one Supercoppa Italiana, one UEFA Super Cup and a UEFA Champions League.
Roman Abramovich Comes Calling
English Premier League champions Chelsea signed Shevchenko in 2006 for a then club-record fee and on his debut in the 2006/2007 Community Shield, he scored his side’s only goal as they went on to lose 2-1 to Liverpool.
It looked to be a season of adaptation for the Ukraine international, as he failed to carry over his carousel of goals from Italy.
In his first season in South West London, he finished the campaign with a less than impressive 14 goals in 51 appearances. The most memorable being a brilliantly improvised effort against rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup quarter-final, a trophy that the club would win that season without the injured Shevchenko. Along with the FA Cup, he also won the League Cup in the same season.
The following season would be even more disappointing, as the arrival of Avram Grant saw him drop to the bench behind the preferred Didier Drogba. Chelsea finished that season trophyless as the club was defeated in the UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United.
A Return To Familiar Surroundings
The 2008/2009 season saw the arrival of Luis Felipe Scolari as manager and that all but ended Shevchenko’s career in England.
Fortunately for him, a loan move back to AC Milan was on the cards as he looked to recover his form from where he left it.
However, this wasn’t to be the case as he didn’t score a single goal in Serie A and netted only two goals all season across the competitions.
Home Sweet Home
After the arrival of manager Carlo Ancelotti in 2009/2010, the Italian announced that Shevchenko would be leaving Stamford Bridge permanently before the summer transfer window concluded.
He returned to his first club Dynamo Kiev where he would ultimately finish his footballing career.
His move home signalled a return of fortunes for the striker, as he was named the best player of the Ukrainian Premier League in his first season after being used mostly as a lift-winger.
After three seasons at Kiev, he scored 30 goals in 83 appearances across all competitions as he announced his retirement from the game in 2012.
As well as his glittering club career, he also played 111 for the Ukraine national team and scored 48 times over a seven-year period.
By Darion Westwood