• Champions League

Ashley Cole: This is why I left Arsenal for Chelsea

ESPN staff
May 19, 2012

Ashley Cole roared "this is why I came to Chelsea" after the Blues' magnificent Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich on Saturday.

Three penalty saves from Petr Cech, one in extra-time and two in the shootout, helped Chelsea lift the European Cup for the first time. Didier Drogba netted the winning kick, having cancelled out Thomas Muller's opener in normal time.

Cole was heavily criticised when he left London rivals Arsenal for Chelsea in 2006, with many accusing him of greed after he turned down a new contract with the Gunners. The England defender insisted that Saturday's win, which sees Chelsea lift a maiden European Cup before Arsenal, proved his decision to be correct.

"I'm lost for words, we stuck to our tactics and in the end we deserved it," Cole told Sky Sports, before insisting he did not give up even when Muller scored seven minutes from time. "We looked up at the clock and realised we still had time left and we always believed.

"Now no-one can say anything to me. This is the reason I came here."

Cech was the Chelsea hero, having stated pre-match that he had studied Bayern's penalty takers. The keeper confessed he did not know what to do when Chelsea sealed victory.

"I dived the right way and got the first one, so I kept believing and saved the second," Cech explained. "I can't describe the feeling I had. For the first time in my life, I didn't know what to do. You cannot imagine the feeling.

''I faced six penalties and six times I went the right way, four times I touched the ball.''

Drogba, who once again proved his importance on the big occasion, claimed nobody can ever doubt Chelsea's spirit after they finally got their hands on the trophy that has eluded them for so long.

"That's the spirit we have. I have been here for eight years, and the guys do not give up," Drogba said. "Even when they scored I thought we had time. We always believe, it was difficult but we did it.

"They never give up until the end. This team is amazing. It was written, I think, a long time ago. I want to dedicate this cup to all the managers we've had before, all the players I've played with before. When we have this guy [Cech] in goal you have to believe.''

Gary Cahill only joined Chelsea in January but the centre-back has already won two pieces of silverware with the London club also having claimed the FA Cup. The former Bolton man said: ''It's absolutely unbelievable, I came here to win trophies, but to pick two up in six months is absolutely unbelievable.''

Cahill actually missed the FA Cup final win over Liverpool due to a hamstring injury that also threatened his participation in Munich. His fellow defender David Luiz was also a doubt with a hamstring problem of his own. However, the 26-year-old Cahill insisted: ''I could feel it [the hamstring] slightly but I was never going to miss the game.

''We only trained about three days leading up to it and obviously we had no games either. To have extra-time as well, we didn't really need that, but it's just amazing. I'm absolutely over the moon. I thought the lads were tremendous today, they really dug in and showed that spirit that they have showed in the previous games.''

Cahill also spoke of his relief at seeing Drogba slot home the winning penalty. ''It was nervewracking and I was just praying that Didier would stick that away so I didn't have to go up!''

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.