Chelsea eased into the Champions League quarter finals after beating Galatasaray 2-0 in the second leg of their last sixteen tie at Stamford Bridge yesterday evening.
With the sides having drawn 1-1 in Istanbul three weeks ago, it was the Premier League leaders who made the breakthrough through Samuel Eto’o after just four minutes.
Gary Cahill doubled the hosts’ advantage three minutes before the break, thumping in after John Terry’s initial effort was saved by Fernando Musilera.
Didier Drogba, who was given a rousing reception by the home supporters on his first return to Stamford Bridge since leaving the club at the end of the 2011/12 campaign, had a chance to pull one back for Roberto Mancini’s side late on which he failed to convert.
The Blues will discover who they will face in the last eight of the competition on Friday, twenty-four hours before they return to domestic action with their top of the table clash with Arsenal.
Manager Jose Mourinho has told Sky Sports that “it doesn’t matter who” the club are drawn against in the quarter finals.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and holders Bayern Munich are already in the hat for the draw along with the Blues, and they will be joined by either Manchester United or Olympiakos and Zenit St Petersburg or Borussia Dortmund, with the final round of last sixteen ties taking place this evening.
Tags: Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Didier Drogba, Galatasaray, Gary Cahill, Manchester City, Manchester United, Olympiakos, Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid, Samuel Eto'o, Zenit St Petersburg
Jose Mourinho has announced that Ashley Cole will be left out of the Chelsea side that will face Arsenal on Monday evening, days after he was pictured at the Gunners’ Christmas party, the Mirror understands.
The Blues boss has not publicly criticised the England defender, who attended the evening with his old club on his free day, and has stressed that he may not have been selected anyway due to the form of Cesar Azpilicueta, who has played at left-back regularly in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Zenit St Petersburg forward Hulk has insisted that he is committed to the Russian club despite continuous links with a move to Stamford Bridge, according to Sky Sports.
The Brazil international, who is keen to cement his place in former Blues boss Luis Felipe Scolari’s squad for next summer’s World Cup finals, has been a reported target of Mourinho’s in both of his spells as Chelsea manager.
However the 27 year old, who has ten goals in sixteen appearances so far this season, has said that he is keen to remain with Zenit as they attempt to conquer both domestically and in the Champions League, in which the face last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund in the last sixteen.
Real Madrid are to make a £20m bid for Chelsea midfielder Ramires, the Express understands.
The Spanish giants have been long time admirers of the Brazil international, and had an enquiry for the player rejected out of hand during the summer.
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti took the 26 year to Stamford Bridge while he was in charge of the Blues, and is keen to add him to an already overcrowded batch of midfielders at the Bernabeu.
Should the move take place, it may pave the way for Jose Mourinho to bring Xabi Alonso to the Bridge, with and Manchester United target Sami Khedira likely to be offloaded.
Meanwhile, the Express also claim that the Blues will attempt to intercept Bayern Munich’s move for Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.
With Demba Ba looking increasingly likely to move on in January, the club will be on the lookout for a new forward and Mourinho has reportedly identified Poland international Lewandowski as his top transfer target.
The 25 year old looked certain to secure a move to the European Champions on a free transfer at the end of the season, but a fee as little as £7m could be enough to land him when the transfer window reopens.
Fernando Torres is keen to continue his goal-scoring run after his midweek brace in Europe, the Mirror understands.
The Spain international got his third and fourth goals of the season in the 3-0 win in Schalke on Tuesday evening, but is yet to score in the Premier League despite featuring in all but two of the Blues’ top-flight games so far.
In fact, his only league goal this calendar year came in the 2-1 victory over Everton on the final day of last season.
Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed in his autobiography that he consdiered signing Petr Cech on two occasions during his time in charge of Manchester United, the Daily Star understands.
However the Scot talked himself out of securing a deal for the goalkeeper, who has been at Stamford Bridge since 2004, both times.
Elsewhere, the Express has reported that the club will battle with Manchester City for the signature of Paris Saint Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
Both clubs are said to be preparing pre-contract offers for the 26 year old, who’s current deal expires in the summer.
Finally, the Blues have also joined Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the race to sign Wolfsburg’s promising German winger Julian Brandt.
Fernando Torres has admitted that he needs to do more to justify his price tag, Sky Sorts understands.
The Spain international has scored just 37 goals in 139 appearances since switching from Liverpool half-way through the 2010/11 campaign.
He was the clubs to scorer last term with 23 goals, though he has just scored twice this time around, and has failed to find the net in any of his five league appearances.
The 29 year old, who is currently side-lined with a knee injury, has admitted that his return in the 2012/13 campaign ‘should be the minimum’ before adding that he believes the criticism which he has received have been over the top.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg have confirmed their interest in signing out of favour midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, according to the Metro.
The Belgium international has been somewhat cast aside by manager Jose Mourinho since turning in a poor performance against Swindon Town in the third round of the League Cup.
He impressed in a season-long spell in the Bundesliga last term, scoring ten goals in thirty-four appearances for Werder Bremen.
Last season’s Champions League runners up Borussia Dortmund were also linked with the 22 year old but this week withdrew their interest.
Ashley Cole is out of England’s World Cup Qualifier against Montenegro on Friday evening, Sky Sports understands.
The 32 year old was substituted during Sunday’s win over Norwich City, and scans yesterday showed the seriousness of the rib injury that he has sustained means he will remain at Stamford Bridge to undergo treatment.
Roy Hodgson’s men need to win both of the forthcoming games at Wembley to absolutely guarantee qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
They currently lead Group H with 16 points, one ahead of Ukraine and Montenegro.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a move for out of favour Blues midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, according to the Mirror.
The Belgium international faced criticism for his performance against League One Swindon Town in the Capital One Cup third round last month, and has since trained with the youth squad.
He enjoyed a season-long spell with Werder Bremen last year and has been linked with a return to the Bundesliga, but last season’s Champions League runners up have pulled out of the race to secure his services.
Elsewhere, Lucas Piazon is keen to impress parent club Chelsea during his loan spell with Vitesse ,and is keen to challenge for a first team place when he returns.
Samuel Eto’o has ruled out a move to Chelsea by pledging his future to Anzhi Makhachkala, the Metro understands.
The Cameroon international linked with the switch to Stamford Bridge, where he would have been reunited with former boss Jose Mourinho, who he worked with to great success at Inter Milan during the 2009/10 season.
The Blues boss had reportedly lined up Eto’o as an alternative option to Wayne Rooney, who looks set to stay at Manchester United.
Nevertheless, the club are expected to line up a final, £40m move for the England international which, should that fail, would see Mourinho revive his interest in Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski, according to the Mirror.
The Polish international is in the final year of his contract at the Westfalenstadion, and is expected to move to Bayern Munich on a free transfer next summer though £40m is likely to be enough to persuade last season’s Bundesliga and Champions League runners up sell.
Meanwhile, Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who has also been linked with Chelsea, has denied that he is about to quit Monaco according to the Express.
The 27 year old only moved to the Ligue 1 side three months ago, but was rumoured to be looking for a way out of his contract after proposals in Francois Hollande’s government to make footballers pay the top rate of tax.