The Blues left for Amsterdam for their tomorrow (Wednesday) night Europa League final clash against Benfica at the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday morning.
Despite cynicism over their fitness for the crunch tie, skipper John Terry, midfielder Mikel Obi and Eden Hazard were part of the team that left the Cobham training ground on the bus to the airport.
Terry who was left out of last season’s Champions League final victory in Munich due to suspension could suffer the same faith, after suffering an ankle injury in Saturday’s Barclay’s Premier League win at Villa Park.
Eden Hazard’s wish of playing his first cup final for Chelsea became a disappointment, after suffering a hamstring injury in the Aston Villa game.
However, both players and Mikel Obi were part of Chelsea’s 25- man squad which travelled to Holland on Tuesday, the Blues confirmed in their website.
With David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic already stabilized in the Blues back-line, the loss of skipper Terry wouldn’t translate to the figurative Achilles heel for the West London club.
Unfortunately, the loss of Belgian playmaker Hazard would be more keenly felt as they go in search of back- to- back European trophies.
But the concern over Mikel, who has a hip problem, may mean club legend Franck Lampard is included, in all likelihood as captain.
Ryan Bertrand, despite a recent knee injury was also on the short flight from London to Amsterdam.
Demba Ba, despite being cup- tied having represented Newcastle earlier in the competition is also among the 25.
Ramires will be lining up against his former club on Wednesday when the utmost priority becomes winning the Europa Cup with last year Champions League still in the kitty.
The 26- year- old, who moved to Stamford Bridge with David Luiz, still has a number of friends in Lisbon.
“I have a lot of affection for Benfica when they are playing in their own competitions, but on the pitch I am a Chelsea player and I don’t want to think about Benfica or anybody else,” he told the club’s official website.
“Before the game you talk to everybody and joke with your friends, you wish them well because they are your opponents, but once you start playing your mind is only on winning the game, you don’t remember anything else.”
After Ramires’ superlative form at the Nou camp last season on the way to winning the champions league, one cannot doubt the Brazilian’s judgment as he warned that Benfica are a well- organised club and ruthless on the attack.
“Of course I still have friends like Luisao, Maxi Pereira, Oscar Cardoszo and Pablo Aimar,” he added.
“They’re very good players and what I can tell you is they are a very good team, well organised and dangerous. They score goals, don’t have a doubt about that.”
Alongside Peter Cech, Rafael Benitez added Ross Turnbull, Hilario and Jamal Blackman to his goalkeeper list on the trip to Amsterdam Arena.
Midfielder Oriol Romeu also travelled, as did 18- year- old Dutchman Nathan Ake.