The lead-up to Chelsea’s first game under Carlo Ancelotti is under way, and the local papers in Seattle have been keeping the interest going with interviews with players from Chelsea and Seattle, whose players include Freddie Ljungberg, Kasey Keller and an ex-Arsenal youth player Steve Zakuani, who’s claim to fame is that he once scored against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge!
There is expected to be a sellout 70,000 fans at the game, so the atmosphere will be great. The locals will be cheering their team on in the hope of an historic win.
Here are a few quotes gleaned from the local papers:
Steve Zakuani: – “The pressure is on them, as always,”
“For us, as a team, it’s a chance to have fun. The result isn’t too important.””It’s going to be a fun day, especially for those of us that one day want to go to Europe, It’s a measure for us.”
“Just get a bit of perspective,” Zakuani said of playing the upper level of Europe. “You dream about it, dream about it, and never really know how far off you are. But when they’re right there on your own pitch, then you can see it.”
He was then asked if he thought Seattle could beat Chelsea? “Any victory the MLS can get is good for the awareness and respect back (in London),” Zakuani continued. “I personally don’t think the level is that far as they make it, but, I think with Chelsea it can be. But the rest of the teams, not so.
“If you can knock off a team like Chelsea and people see that result flash across the screen, people will be like, ‘Who are these guys?’ I think it’s good for the awareness of the league.”
Petr Cech: – “It’s not something we can compare at this moment because soccer in the USA (has) gain(ed) a lot of supporters and has made a lot of progress since 2004,” Cech said. “I think Chelsea has made a huge step forward in being a worldwide known club and I think you can see that here this year that we brought many more supporters.”
“Soccer in the U.S.A. has made a lot of progress, gained a lot of supporters, and I think Chelsea, since 2004, made a huge step forward in being a worldwide-known club,” Cech continued. “As a player, you always like to come to a place where you can be appreciated.”
Salomon Kalou: – “We’ve been away for four weeks,” said Chelsea forward-midfielder Salomon Kalou. “To come back and play this kind of game is good. It’s going to be a difficult game, but even though we are not really 100 percent, we have to do our best to win the game.”
What does he think about the burgeoning interest in football in the USA?
“They’re trying to develop the game, and I think Chelsea is one of the teams that people in America know about,” Kalou said. “It’s always fun to be with all our fans and try to promote the soccer game.”
“If we lost [today], I don’t think we have to be ashamed of that because it’s a preseason game and also, Seattle is a good team,” Kalou said. “They’re training every day and trying to win the MLS, so it will be a good game to watch and a good game to play.”
Florent Malouda: – ‘Tomorrow will be our first game and we have to come back to good habits,’ he began. ‘It’s a nice stadium, different from those we are used to playing in but it is a nice experience and the fans here are really happy, everybody is expecting a great game so we have to give them joy.’
That is exactly what we all want to hear Florent!