During the UEFA Champions League Group Stage draw this evening, Rio Ferdinand was once again upstaged by John Terry, this time, for the European Club Defender of the Year award. Nemanja Vidic was also in the running.
Then there was Petr Cech beating Edwin Van der Sar to the goalkeeping award, followed by Frank Lampard scooping the midfielder of the award, beating Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Cesc Fabregas.
What’s going on?
Cech has suffered his dodgiest season yet as a Chelsea player, in contrast to Edwin Van der Sar who has just enjoyed arguably his best season with the club. The fact that United conceded fewer goals, in both the league and Champions League with Edwin in goal, as well as it being Van der Sar who made the penalty save that won the European Cup, has been overlooked, clearly.
Frank Lampard scored some important goals for Chelsea and whilst a joke for England, there is no denying he is effective for the blues. Paul Scholes’ absence for several months of the season, despite his screamer against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, could have cost him.
The most baffling of all the awards has to be John Terry though, who certainly hasn’t played at the standard of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic is the season just gone. Surely even the most devout Chelsea fan would struggle to argue that.
The fact that better players were upstaged by Chelsea players couldn’t have anything to do with United having an important game to play tomorrow, could it? Whilst Ronaldo made an appearance, scooping the forward and overall player of the season awards, he is injured, and will be at the match tomorrow as a spectator. Attending a glitzy awards show the evening before the European Super Cup match isn’t what you’d call ideal preparation, and something no doubt the manager would forbid, even if it meant costing his players awards. He’s got his eyes on a bigger prize for tomorrow.
The winners of the awards were used to help with the draw so a no-show from the winning players would be fairly embarrassing. I wouldn’t put it past the organisers to award players who they knew would show up, as surely that can be the only reasonable explanation so many Chelsea players were awarded for their contribution to a season where they won nothing, and United were Champions.
edit. This award isn’t to be confused with the European Player of the Year! The Chelsea fans were getting rather giddy, so I felt it best to rule out any further confusion to save embarrassment.