When Frank Lampard was appointed as Chelsea’s interim manager, there was a lot of fanciful talk about how he could perhaps follow in the footsteps of another former midfielder who was unexpectedly thrust into the job.
Following the departure of André Villas-Boas in March 2012, his assistant Roberto di Matteo was installed in the job and managed to guide the Blues to Champions League glory for the first time.
As memorable as the penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich in the final was, the real ‘moment’ of the campaign was the semi-final second leg away to Barcelona, on this day 11 years ago.
Chelsea had won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, but an early red card for John Terry at the Nou Camp, coupled with a pair of Barça goals, seemed to suggest that the competition’s holders would advance to the decider.
However, a Ramires goal in first-half injury time put Chelsea ahead on away goals and a heroic second-half defensive performance kept Barcelona at bay before Fernando Torres scored a late breakaway goal to put the issue beyond doubt.
This was the first season were Nike began to mix things up with Barcelona’s stripes, though the diagonal narrowing effect almost seems quaint now. Pep Guardiola’s side had the ‘Champions 2011’ patch on the right sleeve instead of the Champions League starball while they also wore the world club champions patch on the front of their shirts.
Chelsea, meanwhile, wore an attractive but little-used white third strip. There was some talk at the time that they had worn Real Madrid’s colour to spook Barcelona, but the reality was that it was a better option than the black second kit and, in any case, we’re struggling to recall a Madrid shirt that featured such bold colour blocking.
Nevertheless, the result ensured that it is remembered fondly and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it referenced by a modern release at some stage in the future.