After Chelsea won the Champions League in the 2011/2012 season it heralded the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
The players that had formed Chelsea’s core for almost a decade were ageing, while some were leaving and thus the recruitment drive for young, vibrant and talented players was needed.
Out went the legend Didier Drogba and in came Oscar De Santos Emboboa. The young Brazilian International, known simply as Oscar, arrived Stamford Bridge from Internacional for a fee in the region of £20m, boasting so much potential after impressing for Brazil at the U-20 World Cup and Olympic Games in Athens. Chelsea fans were excited at his recruitment as it promised some entertaining and attractive football.
On his Champions League debut against Juventus – a club then coached by present Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte – the boy didn’t disappoint as he scored two goals from range, the second a thing of beauty. He received the ball at the edge of the penalty area with his back to the goal and produced a moment of magic to turn two opposing players with one touch and then curled a lovely shot beyond veteran ‘keeper, Gianluigi Buffon.
That goal and display filled every Chelsea fan with optimism and belief for the future. Oscar would then go on to help form a devastating attacking trio alongside Eden Hazard and Juan Mata nicknamed ‘MAZACAR’.
Many opposing defences crumbled at the skill, brilliance and flair of these three until form started to dip and the team’s defence was continually exposed, which resulted to then Blues loosing precious points and gradually dropping on the league table they once topped. Roberto Di Matteo was given the sack and in came Rafa Benitez who was more conservative.
To get a more defensive shape against teams with potent attacks, Oscar was sacrificed and in came the hard working Victor Moses. The season ended with the fans not seeing other magical moments from the magical Brazilian, although he scored some decisive goals en route to Chelsea winning the Europa League.
The next season Jose Mourinho was appointed Chelsea manager and Oscar began the season in devastating form, which led to the Portuguese tactician to select him as the creator over fan favourite, Mata. Eventually Oscar’s form dipped again before the season ended and that has been the player’s story so far in Chelsea colours.
Fans have only been limited to flashes of brilliance here and there (like the back-heel that set up Eden Hazard’s goal against Manchester United at Stamford bridge in Chelsea’s title winning campaign) but continue to be frustrated at his inability to, as Jose Mourinho would put it, ‘have his evolution’ – just like Eden Hazard did in 2014/2015 and Willian in 2015/2016.
Now the manager heralded as a master tactician, against whom he scored his first Chelsea goal and who has admired him ever since is now his coach and there is great reason to believe that Mr. Conte will finally help Oscar reach his full potential.
A player always thrives when he has the confidence of his coach. Oscar will enjoy that privilege because the former Italy coach has always admired him.
After attending the first training session with the Italian Oscar said he was impressed by Antonio Conte’s “very tactical” approach to being Chelsea manager and believes the team will “improve a lot” under the guidance of the Italian this season.
The feel-good-factor is back at the Bridge and it’s going to be Oscar’s season of evolution.
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