Paulo Ferreira has declared Chelsea are ready to shock Europe — just like Porto and Liverpool — by winning this season’s Champions League.
Ferreira helped the Blues move to within touching distance of their sixth semi-final in nine years following his surprise recall at Benfica on Tuesday night.
Chelsea need only avoid becoming the third club to throw away a first-leg away win in the competition to reach the last four, where they would be underdogs against Barcelona or AC Milan.
With Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the other half of the draw, the Blues have never been less fancied to end their agonising wait for Champions League glory. But the only man in their squad to have lifted the European Cup insisted that was no bar to success, having himself been a surprise winner with Porto in 2004. Ferreira was also part of the Chelsea side beaten in the following year’s semi-finals by Liverpool, who went on to triumph in Istanbul despite finishing fifth in the Barclays Premier League, 37 points behind Jose Mourinho’s men.
The Blues are facing a similar plight in the league this season but Ferreira said of their Champions League hopes: “Remember, in 2004 I won with Porto when maybe no one expected to see Porto win the Champions League against these top, big clubs.
“Anything can happen in this competition. A bit of luck with the draw, a good first leg or bad leg, and anything can happen.”
Ferreira was the biggest selection shock on Tuesday night as Roberto Di Matteo gambled Chelsea’s Champions League future by resting six of his weary players.
The 33-year-old had not featured at all in 2012 and had made just two previous starts this season but he insisted he never gave up hope of a recall or of helping the Blues achieve their ultimate dream.
He said: “We have a wonderful squad. If you see our squad, we have top players — all of them international players. But, for me, I think anything can happen. Why not? You have to believe.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea hero Salomon Kalou has revealed he feared the same fate as Nicolas Anelka and Alex under Andre Villas-Boas but now wants to sign a new contract at Stamford Bridge.
Asked if he would now sign a new deal, he said: “Yes. I have been at the club for six years, I enjoy being here.
“Everyone feels like family at the club. There is no reason why I don’t want to stay.”
Keeper Petr Cech concedes it has been a “strange season” for the club but is thrilled to still be fighting on two fronts.
“I think we are living in a strange season,” he said.
“There were ups and downs in the league and we are still in the Champions League and the FA Cup so we are still hunting for two trophies.
“We will have to see how we finish the season off but we have put ourselves in a very good position now. I think we can say [Tuesday] was the perfect game for us in terms of result.”
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