Tag Archives: yokohama

Chelsea fly home from Norwich like Arsenal

First Arsenal, now Chelsea: Blues take to the air in 25-minute journey home from NORWICH

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UPDATED:

18:04 GMT, 27 December 2012

Chelsea are likely to come under fire from eco-warriors after it was revealed they chartered a flight from Norwich on Boxing Day.

The journey by road can take roughly three hours but Rafa Benitez and his men would not have been in the air for any longer than 25 minutes.

The team boarded their BMI Embraer jet, after their 1-0 win at Norwich City, and shaved hours off of their commute, touching down at London Gatwick at around 7.30pm.

Flying: Chelsea have won all three matches since returning from Japan, scoring 14 goals in the process

Flying: Chelsea have won all three matches since returning from Japan, scoring 14 goals in the process

Winner: Mata scored the only goal on Boxing Day at Carrow Road

Winner: Mata scored the only goal on Boxing Day at Carrow Road

Flight times from London to other Premier League venues

Reading – 6 minutes

Southampton – 10 minutes

Norwich – 15 minutes

Aston Villa – 15 minutes

West Brom – 16 minutes

Stoke – 21 minutes

Swansea – 25 minutes

Manchester – 25 minutes

Wigan – 26 minutes

Everton and Liverpool – 27 minutes

Sunderland – 35 minutes

Newcastle – 36 minutes

Sources close to the club defended
the charter flight, particularly so soon after their long-haul return
from Yokohama earlier this month, from the Club World Cup.

Environmentalists
slammed Arsenal for their decision to charter to and from Norwich in
October, drawing heavy criticism from Friends of the Earth.

Jennifer
Parkhouse of the Norwich and Norfolk branch said: ‘I cannot see any
reason why they would have flown, other than it being a rather
ostentatious display of the players’ and club’s wealth.

‘It is absolutely absurd… They would have spent more time getting on and off the plane than in the air.’

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger defended the choice, blaming the unreliability of other modes of transport.

‘Usually we take the train and there was no train available, so we decided to fly,’ he said, adding it is difficult to estimate the time it takes to drive there.

Roberto Di Matteo wins Credit Suisse coach of the year

Look who's won another trophy, Roman… as Benitez blows it in Japan, Di Matteo is named coach of the year in Switzerland

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UPDATED:

14:05 GMT, 17 December 2012

On the same day Rafael Benitez's Chelsea were beaten in the Club World Cup final his predecessor Roberto Di Matteo was seen smiling again after being named coach of the year in Switzerland.

Italian tactician Di Matteo was sacked last month by Blues owner Roman Abramovich despite winning both the Champions League and the FA Cup in his short spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.

All smiles: Di Matteo collects the award in Zurich on Sunday night

All smiles: Di Matteo collects the award in Zurich on Sunday night

All smiles: Di Matteo collects the award in Zurich on Sunday night

All smiles: Di Matteo collects the award in Zurich on Sunday night

While Di Matteo's exploits were clearly not appreciated by the Russian oligarch, football experts in the country of his birth stood to applaud the 42-year-old as he was honoured at the Credit Suisse Sports Awards in Zurich on Sunday night.

Benitez finds himself under enormous pressure at Stamford Bridge already just eight games into his seemingly doomed reign as interim manager. The Spaniard is hugely unpopular with club's fans having replaced club legend Di Matteo and he has won just three of his eight games in charge.

Outfoxed: Benitez's Chelsea were beaten by Corinthians in Japan on Sunday

Outfoxed: Benitez's Chelsea were beaten by Corinthians in Japan on Sunday

Outfoxed: Benitez's Chelsea were beaten by Corinthians in Japan on Sunday

Chelsea, off the pace in the Premier League, have lost three of the six games Benitez has taken charge of so far and blew their best chance of silverware with a 1-0 defeat to Corinthians in Yokohama, Japan on Sunday.

Although an Italian international Di Matteo was born and brought up in Schaffhausen in the north of Switzerland.

Stellar year: Di Matteo won both the FA Cup (above) and the Champions League (below)

Stellar year: Di Matteo won both the FA Cup (above) and the Champions League (below)

Stellar year: Di Matteo won both the FA Cup (above) and the Champions League (below)

P.S. There were no surprises when Roger Federer was named as Swiss sportsman of the year. The 31-year-old tennis star is the country's greatest ever athlete, having won 17 Grand Slams.

Legend: Federer picked up yet another gong

Legend: Federer picked up yet another gong

FIFA charge 24 for Chelsea v Corinthians Club World Cup final programme

We know football's becoming more expensive, but this is ridiculous! FIFA fat cats charge whopping 24 for Club World Cup final programme

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UPDATED:

11:29 GMT, 16 December 2012

Football programmes can be a most treasured keepsake for supporters, especially when your team has a chance of being crowned world champions of club football.

A programme for an FA Cup final at Wembley would set you back around 10. A tad steep but should your team win it will provide memories of a fantastic day when your team lifted the cup.

But for the Club World Cup final between Chelsea and Corinthians, FIFA have released the what must be world’s most expensive programme, which costs 3000 Yen… that’s 24!

Chelsea mascot Stamford the Lion poses with fans in Yokohama

Chelsea mascot Stamford the Lion poses with fans in Yokohama

Chelsea supporters in the fan zone at the Yokohama International Stadium

Chelsea supporters in the fan zone at the Yokohama International Stadium

Chelsea have plenty of support in Japan

Chelsea have plenty of support in Japan

Providing everybody attending the event parted with an arm and a leg to buy their piece of history, FIFA would generate almost 2million in programme revenue alone.

The Club World Cup is branded by most as a farce and an unwelcome distraction from the Premier League but FIFA are obviously looking to cash in.

So, for Chelsea fans who’ve spent their hard-earned wages and savings to travel to the Far East the expense isn’t over as they’ll have to pay more for a programme than what Newcastle United fans pay for a day out watching their team.

A recent survey found that the Geordie club offer a ticket, programme, pie and a cup of tea for 23.

Should Chelsea lose to Corinthians, the fans who travelled to the other side of the world will have to ask themselves… was it really worth it

Programme tweet

Programme

Programme tweet

Costly: It's been an expensive trip to Japan for these two fans

Costly: It's been an expensive trip to Japan for these two fans

Japan loves the Premier League and it must be a bonus to have one of the league's best teams play in their country

Japan loves the Premier League and it must be a bonus to have one of the league's best teams play in their country

There's no doubt who this fan is supporting

There's no doubt who this fan is supporting

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich"s plans to conquer the world (just as Rafa Benitez is beginning to win over the fans)

Abramovich's plans to conquer the world (just as Benitez is beginning to win over the fans)

By
Joe Bernstein

PUBLISHED:

22:24 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 15 December 2012

Roman Abramovich's quest for world
domination began with a trip to Arsenal's training ground in the summer
of 2003, shortly after he had bought Chelsea from Ken Bates.

Promising his new club the best
facilities money could buy, the young Russian billionaire took his
entourage on a tour of other clubs' headquarters to seek inspiration.

Having a ball: Torres has started to find the form he showed under Benitez at Liverpool

Having a ball: Torres has started to find the form he showed under Benitez at Liverpool

The visit to Arsenal's London Colney was the key one. 'It should be like this,' said the oligarch as he surveyed the magnificent 143-acre site with its high-tech training and medical facilities. 'But bigger and better.'

Ten seasons on, in the unlikely setting of Yokohama, Abramovich's unwavering vision about Chelsea being the very best could become official at lunchtime on Sunday.

The FIFA Club World Cup may be belittled by some but, for Chelsea's owner, beating Corinthians of Brazil in the final is a natural progression from being crowned champions of Europe on an unforgettable night in Munich last May. And, according to Fernando Torres, victory could even end up with fans singing the name of interim manager Rafael Benitez.

Most of the Chelsea players are still reticent to discuss the Spaniard's influence since the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo last month, but Benitez is handling the situation handed to him by Abramovich with dexterity.

He joined locals in the 70th floor breakfast room at the Royal Park Hotel in Yokohama, where the team are staying, happily posing for photographs and has encouraged his players to mingle with the 200 or so fans who gather every day for a glimpse of their idols.

On a mission: Benitez could win over more fans by claiming first trophy as Chelsea boss

On a mission: Benitez could win over more fans by claiming first trophy as Chelsea boss

Torres, who has scored five goals in his last three games – his best run in almost two years at the club – said: 'It is clear that the team have improved, both in defence and attack, and all this bears the stamp of Rafa. I knew he would make a big difference to Chelsea. He works hard – very hard – and soon the fans will accept him as one of them and not just for the results, but by the attitude we will see on the pitch. Now the fans will be happier and will like him.

'They are going to see the Chelsea they expect and the one they want to see. The Liverpool-Chelsea rivalry, with all the fighting that took place, may have created an animosity that is understandable, but it is just a matter of time before everything changes.'

In a quirk of the fixture list, Chelsea's next game after their world final will remind Abramovich of how it all began, with Bates now chairman of Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final opponents Leeds.

Abramovich's 140million Stamford Bridge buy-out in July 2003 was not only the most significant event of the modern Premier League era – opening the door for a new breed of overseas owner – it was also typically aggressive. He talked terms with Bates on the Wednesday and bought the club the following day.

Powerful: Roman Abramovich attends speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Powerful: Roman Abramovich attends speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Indeed, it set the tone for a tumultuous decade that has seen the number of managers employed by Abramovich – nine – exceeded by the number of trophies won, 10.

One of the witnesses to this period is Gwyn Williams, who worked at Chelsea as coach, scout, technical director and assistant manager for 26 years under both Bates and Abramovich before rejoining Bates at Leeds in 2006, where he is the club's technical director.

'I was driving to Paris to pick up some trialists when I heard about the Abramovich deal,' he said. 'By the time I came out of the tunnel the other side, it had been done. It was a surprise because it happened so quickly, but we knew if Chelsea were going to the top, they needed seriously rich people involved.'

Abramovich was only 36 when he bought Chelsea and already a multi-billionaire. He decided to control the signing of players personally. Eugene Tenenbaum and Bruce Buck (trusted advisers), Pini Zahavi (agent) and Piet de Visser (scout) were consulted rather than leaving decisions to the manager. Last summer Eden Hazard and Oscar were signed without Di Matteo being a factor.

Williams does not see a problem with Abramovich's hands-on approach or his regular turnaround of managers. 'It's only regarded as strange in British football. In Europe, it's normal for a director of football to buy players and leave the manager to coach them. A club need to know their new player will be a good investment whoever the manager is,' he said.

'If every player you signed was fantastic, life would be easy. But Roman is not afraid of the hiccups and keeps moving forward. He is ambitious and needs to be. He is a wealthy man but also a clever man.'

A clever man who could be left feeling on top of the world.

Branislav Ivanovic desperate to win World Club Cup

Winning Club World Cup will help make up for Champions League exit, claims Ivanovic

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UPDATED:

10:27 GMT, 15 December 2012

Branislav Ivanovic has claimed Chelsea's World Club Cup final with Corinthians could be the key game for this generation at the club.

Defender Ivanovic suggested a win in tomorrow's match in Yokohama would be the catalyst for a new era of success at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's Champions League triumph in May was a watershed moment for the club, having been followed by an overhaul in both personnel and playing style.

Raring to go: Branislav Ivanovic believes the Club World Cup can be a launchpad

Raring to go: Branislav Ivanovic believes the Club World Cup can be a launchpad

And Ivanovic said of tomorrow's world-title decider: 'For us, this is maybe the key game for this generation.

'We know how we have to play the final and we know that it's going to be tough.

'So, we have to be ready.'

Ivanovic admitted Chelsea becoming the first Champions League holders to crash out of the competition before Christmas – the third trophy they have missed out on already this season – made victory tomorrow even more imperative.

'It's going to be a key point for this generation because to be eliminated from the first stage of the Champions League is, for us, a little bit disappointing,' he said.

'We have to work hard and how we worked hard in the past to be champions.

Main man: Rafael Benitez hopes to win his first piece of silverware with his new club

Main man: Rafael Benitez hopes to win his first piece of silverware with his new club

'Tomorrow is the one new chance to make history.

'I think we are ready for that challenge.'

The Club World Cup has been cast somewhat as an ugly sister to the Champions League but Ivanovic added: 'I think this is one of the biggest chances we have in our lives, what we have at the moment.

'So we have to try to do everything to take it.

'We know why we came all the way here.'

The common perception is that the tournament means more to South American clubs than those in Europe.

Eyes on the prize: FIFA President Sepp Blatter with the Club World Cup

Eyes on the prize: FIFA President Sepp Blatter with the Club World Cup

Ivanovic countered that and said: “We know how this competition in South America is very big, very huge.

'But, for us, it's the same.

'There are not a lot of chances to be a world champion.

'We have to take this chance like it's the last one and we have to play this way.'

Tomorrow's match is being played at a neutral venue but Chelsea's travelling fans are expected to be completely outnumbered and outsung by their Corinthians counterparts.

'This is quite a similar situation to the Champions League final, when we actually played the game away,' Ivanovic said, recalled May's triumph against Bayern Munich – in Munich.

'Tomorrow, there are going to be a lot of Brazilian supporters.

Training days: Chelsea warm-up before the final against Corinthians

Training days: Chelsea warm-up before the final against Corinthians

'But there are going to be our supporters as well.

'We know the atmosphere is going to be quite like it is in South America but we will try to adapt to this quickly and try to stay focused on the game.'

Interim manager Rafael Benitez revealed he had yet to decide on his starting line-up, particularly whether to hand Frank Lampard a first start since his recovery froma a calf problem.

'The good thing about this team, this squad, is I can choose any player and I'm sure that they will perform,' Benitez said.

'Frank is one of these players. He's a good player, a very good player.

'Still, I don't have the team in my head.

'After talking with my staff, we will decide.'

Asked if defender David Luiz might keep his place in midfield, Benitez said: 'Why not'

John Mikel Obi happy to play in game with Mark Clattenburg as referee

Everything is put to bed and we move on! Banned Mikel to make peace with ref Clattenburg

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UPDATED:

22:43 GMT, 13 December 2012

John Mikel Obi has revealed he would be happy to play in a game refereed by Mark Clattenburg.

Mikel is serving a three-match domestic ban for his angry reaction to allegations that Clattenburg had racially abused him during a game against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in October.

The 25-year-old Nigerian burst into the referees' room after team-mate Ramires told him what he thought he heard, but the accusations were quickly dismissed once they were investigated by the FA.

Suspended: Mikel was slapped with a three-game domestic ban by the FA

Suspended: Mikel was slapped with a three-game domestic ban by the FA

Clattenburg, who did not referee for a month while the FA looked into the incident, is back in action and is scheduled to be fourth official when Reading host Arsenal on Monday.

'Everything is put to bed and we move on,' said Mikel.

'If he refereed a game there would certainly be no problem. I think now it is done I am glad it is over. I am sure he is glad it is over as well, and the FA is glad it is all put to bed. We can move on from here.'

Row: But the Chelsea midfielder revealed he would be happy to play in a game refereed by Mark Clattenburg

Row: But the Chelsea midfielder revealed he would be happy to play in a game refereed by Mark Clattenburg

Mikel served the first game of his ban at Sunderland on Saturday but is able to play in the Club World Cup.

He will miss the Capital One Cup quarter-final against Leeds on Wednesday and the Barclays Premier League game at home to Aston Villa four days later.

Mikel's team-mate Fernando Torres insists Rafa Benitez has improved Chelsea, making the team more compact and more cohesive since replacing Roberto Di Matteo last month.

The interim manager also has Torres scoring. He grabbed his fifth goal in three games as the Blues won 3-1 against Mexican side Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final in Yokohama.

Benitez insisted his striker's improvement was nothing to do with him but Torres said: 'As a team we're getting better and coming together as one unit, working better both defensively and offensively.

'We have had a hard time this season but since Rafa Benitez came in as a coach it is coming together and we are showing more determination.

'As a team we're getting better and individually I feel much better now, scoring consistently. Hopefully I can score again on Sunday (when Chelsea take on Corinthians in the final).'

Torres said: 'It is a very important tournament, especially for the South Americans. It is their childhood dream and we Europeans must learn to treat the tournament in the same way.'

Frank Lampard fears Chelsea exit but hints at Premier League stay

Frank fears Chelsea exit… but hints at Premier League stay

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 13 December 2012

Frank Lampard fears the end of his Chelsea career is in sight as his contract ticks into its last six months with no talks in the diary.

Lampard wants to extend his 12 years at Stamford Bridge, but seems likely to become another victim of the club's rejuvenation drive and can sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign team next month.

He has already been linked with Los Angeles Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain and clubs in Russia and China but hinted last night that he may prefer to stay in the Barclays Premier League, saying he feels he still has something to offer at the top level.

Don't go: Chelsea supporters in Japan back substitute Lampard to stay at Stamford Bridge

Don't go: Chelsea supporters in Japan back substitute Lampard to stay at Stamford Bridge

Don't go: Chelsea supporters in Japan back substitute Lampard to stay at Stamford Bridge

'Maybe things don't last for ever,' said Lampard, who joined Chelsea from West Ham for 11million in 2001. 'Although I want it to last for ever, you have to be big enough to know what it is.'

When asked about contract talks, he added: 'There's nothing planned as far as I know. There have been no talks about an extension. 'The ball is in Chelsea's court. I'm a Chelsea player, as simple as that. I've had a great, great time here.'

Lampard came off the bench against Monterrey as Chelsea earned a place in the Club World Cup final yesterday.

It was his second appearance since returning from a calf injury, but he insisted he was ready to start. Interim manager Rafa Benitez let it slip when he replaced Roberto Di Matteo that the club were unlikely to offer extensions to Lampard and Ashley Cole, also out of contract next year.

In Yokohama, Benitez chose to play centre half David Luiz in central midfield ahead of Lampard, who was clearly disappointed.

'I was ready to start, it was the manager's decision,' said the 34-year-old. 'I'm not the kind of player to see out my time and sit with my bum on the bench too much. I want to be involved. I will keep trying to do that, whatever the circumstances.

'I can't predict anything but I feel like I have two or three years at least in me at the top level. It is not for me to decide. Whatever happens, I've had a great time at Chelsea. I am determined to play a few more years.'

That's handy: Lampard came on as a second-half substitute in the victory over Monterrey

That's handy: Lampard came on as a second-half substitute in the victory over Monterrey

That's handy: Lampard came on as a second-half substitute in the victory over Monterrey

Lampard added: 'I wanted to be here. I relapsed last time I came back too early. I wanted to be with the lads and in the competition. It feels good.

'This is a final now, a very prestigious competition which the club have never won, which not many English teams have won. We have a number of trophies available this year and it's important to make sure we get our first one.'

John Terry pictured in his pants watching Chelsea on TV v Monterrey

Meanwhile… in Cobham: The stadium might be half empty but Terry's watching his team-mates on TV

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UPDATED:

14:00 GMT, 13 December 2012

Even though there were only 36,648 fans in the 72,327 capacity Nissan Stadium in Yokohama to watch Chelsea's 3-1 Club World Cup semi-final triumph over Monterrey, skipper John Terry was watching on television.

As most of the Blues' players explored the delights of Japan in the past few days, life has been continuing as normal for two familiar faces.

Back at the club's training ground in Cobham, Terry continued his recuperation from a knee ligament injury and posted a picture of himself watching the game.

Support: John Terry backed his team-mates to beat Monterrey in the Club World Cup

Support: John Terry backed his team-mates to beat Monterrey in the Club World Cup

He has remained in the UK, alongside former club favourite Didier Drogba, who is back training with the club.

Terry had also posted an Instagram picture of
himself on an exercise bike in a deserted gym as he tries to get back to
full fitness to help with Chelsea's hectic schedule.

Lonely: John Terry posted this picture of himself in the gym at Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he continues he rehabilitation from injury while his teammates play in Japan

Lonely: John Terry posted this picture of himself in the gym at Chelsea's Cobham training ground as he continues he rehabilitation from injury while his teammates play in Japan

Old pals: Didier Drogba is also back in training with Terry and Chelsea as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations

Old pals: Didier Drogba is also back in training with Terry and Chelsea as he prepares for the African Cup of Nations

He also took a cosy snap of himself with Drogba, who left for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer and who is back keeping his fitness levels up before representing Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations.

Terry is 6,000 miles away from the rest of his teammates, who are in Japan trying to cap their European Cup-winning year with more silverware.

Back in town: The Ivorian left Chelsea for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer

Back in town: The Ivorian left Chelsea for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in the summer

The 31-year-old defender damaged knee ligaments in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool in November and is expected to be out for over a month.

In order to combat jetlag, manager Rafa Benitez took his players to a Yokohama bowling alley but admitted they were struggling to adapt their sleep patterns to the time difference.

They beat the Mexican side to advance to a final with Brazilian team Corinthians this Sunday.

Meanwhile... In Japan: Chelsea's squad on a walkabout in Yokohama before their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey

Meanwhile… In Japan: Chelsea's squad on a walkabout in Yokohama before their Club World Cup semi-final with Monterrey

Big in Japan: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez meets fans as the team walk around Yokohama before the game

Big in Japan: Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez meets fans as the team walk around Yokohama before the game

Ready for the game: These two Chelsea fans were fully kitted out

Ready for the game: These two Chelsea fans were fully kitted out

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole loses Rafa Benitez"s bowling game in Japan

Cheque please! Ashley Cole becomes team waiter after losing Rafa's bowling trip

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UPDATED:

08:13 GMT, 13 December 2012

One week after being skittled out of the Champions League, Rafa Benitez organised a ten-pin bowling expedition for his Chelsea players with Ashley Cole among those to suffer in the unforgiving lanes of Yokohama.

Benitez hatched the Japanese bowling trip to help his players bond and fight the jet-lag ahead of their debut in the FIFA Club World Cup. Players and staff split into small groups with the worst bowlers being made to wait on tables for their team-mates.

'It wasn’t really about who won, it was about who lost,' revealed Gary Cahill, who performed better than left-back Cole. 'Whoever lost had to serve the dinner at the hotel. It was Ashley in our group.'

Loser: Ashley Cole was forced to wait on his teammates after losing the bowling tournament

Loser: Ashley Cole was forced to wait on his teammates after losing the bowling tournament

He added: 'There were about six of us and he was waiting on us. I have to say, he’s a better left-back than a waiter. I think the only tip anyone gave him was: “Don’ t do it again”.

'Everyone played, including the manager. There were a few strikes and the standard was alright, actually. I’d describe myself as an average bowler. It was a bit of team bonding, a chance to get the lads together and then we had some food.

'It was good because aside from that, we’ve just been preparing for the games. This has given us an opportunity because we’re all away together for a few days and once you’ve trained, there’s nothing on.

'That’s been the only thing really. We’re not here on holiday. We’re here for a reason. We’re here to prepare for the game. But we’ve had a bit of down time when we first came and it was good to get out for an hour instead of going stir-crazy in the hotel.'

Chelsea will get down to business on Thursday when they face Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final

Chelsea will get down to business on Thursday when they face Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final

Benitez also wanted to guard against jet-lag and feared if the players had free time in the evening they would spend the evening snoozing, settling into the wrong sleep patterns for a team who will launch their campaign on Thursday against Monterrey, of Mexico.

'I was here in 2005 and we knew we had to do something to keep the players busy because if not they go to sleep,' said Benitez, the first manager to lead three different teams into the Club World Cup.

'When they are thinking they need to go to sleep, we had to organise some activities to keep them ready. The majority understand they have to do it. Each person is different. For most people it is not the main thing but for a player who has to compete, sleep is really important.'

Relaxed: Juan Mata and Frank Lampard have some fun in training at the Yokohama International Stadium

Relaxed: Juan Mata and Frank Lampard have some fun in training at the Yokohama International Stadium

English teams have suffered similar problems in the past. When Liverpool were in Tokyo for the Toyota Cup final against Flamengo in December 1981, some players were struggling to sleep on the eve of the game and they went to a nearby driving range for 30 minutes to hit some golf balls. It did not help as they were beaten next day by the Brazilians.

Despite their early exit from this year’s Champions League, this tournament has rekindled memories of Chelsea’s victory in Munich in May, as did Didier Drogba’ s decision to buy “Superbowl” style commemorative rings for his team-mates and staff at a personal cost thought to be around 800,000.

'It was an amazing surprise,' said Cahill. 'I had no idea when he came in and called us all together. I was very touched. It was extremely generous for a start because it was his idea and no-one needs to go out and do that. Not just for us for the staff as well.

'It shows what his character is. He is a great lad. It reminds us of what a great achievement it was. He said that's why he did it, so that none of us forget what a huge achievement it was.

'It’s something I'll keep for the rest of my life but I’m not sure it’s a ring I’d wear. I'm not flashy. It’s more of a memento. It's personal and individual to every player and something you want to save.'

Chelsea in Japan: Graham Chadwick video blog

Graham Chadwick's video blog: Waiting almost over as Chelsea eye Club World Cup glory in Japan

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UPDATED:

15:40 GMT, 12 December 2012

Sportsmail
photographer Graham Chadwick has travelled to Japan with Chelsea as they
prepare for their first game of the FIFA Club World Cup this Thursday.

Watch Graham's latest video blog of the Blues in Yokohama.

Chelsea don't have long to wait now until they start their bid for Club World Cup glory against Monterrey.

The Blues have been in Japan for a few days now ahead of Thursday's semi-final clash with the Mexicans.

Our man has been with them all the way and, in his latest brilliant video blog, caught the Blues as they trained on the pitch in Yokohama while staff at the stadium made sure everything would be ready for the big kick-off.

Watch the video…

Play Video

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