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When Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC back in June 2003, he had one goal in mind, to win the UEFA Champions League. This goal was achieved at the Allianz Arena in Munich on the 19th May 2012, as Chelsea battled the odds to reach the final and defeat German Bundesliga side Bayern Munich on home soil!

 

Abramovich had spent literally millions of pounds on players and managers in his relentless pursuit of this dream, to make Chelsea the best side in Europe. It seems slightly ironic that the manager who eventually aided his realisation of this dream was not a 'tinker man,' nor was he the 'special one' he was a former player and a manager with relativly little experience, especially at this level. This man was Italian Roberto Di Matteo, a man loved by both players and fans alike.

 

Chelsea's road to Munich was by no means an easy one, however they finished top of thier group with 11 points, losing just the one game, which was actually to German side Bayer Leverkusen. In the round of 16 Chelsea were drawn against Italian side Napoli, who boasted one of the most deadly attacking trio's in world football, with Marek Hamsik, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi. Chelsea were away in Naples for the first leg and despite taking the lead through Juan Mata, they suffered a heavy 3-1 defeat, with Lavezzi bagging a brace and Cavani also getting his name on the score sheet. That game was to be Andre Villas-Boas last European game in charge of Chelsea.

 

Chelsea seemingly had a mountain to climb, however they had a new manager at the helm in former player Roberti Di Matteo; seen at the time to be a mere interim manager until a more permanent appointment could be made, who rejuvenated a weary looking Chelsea side by turning to the old guard. The game at Stamford Bridge was a classic end to end game, with both teams readily carving out chances. Chelsea reversed the tie to win 3-1, with goals from 3 players who epitomised Chelsea at that time, John Terry, Frank Lamapard and Didier Drogba, with Inler getting the solitary away goal for Napoli. So with the game all square it went into extra time, with Branislav Ivanovic the hero for Chelsea, as he scored the decisive winner in the 105th minute, sending Chelsea into the quarter final.

 

Benfica would be Chelsea's next opponents and they faired much better in the away leg than they did against Napoli, beating Benfica 1-0, with Kalou the match winner. The game at Stamford Bridge was another tense affair, but Chelsea held their nerve to win 2-1, thanks to a 21st minute penalty by Frank Lampard and a last gasp winner by Raul Meireles. Chelsea were now just 2 games away from the final and the team standing in thier way were Spanish giants Barcelona, surely this would prove to be a game too far for Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea side. Chelsea battled hard in the home leg to triumph 1-0, with Didier Drogba getting the goal to take the most slender of leads into the Nou Camp.

 

Barcelona levelled the tie on 35 minutes thanks to Sergio Busquetts. Things got worse for Chelsea when team captain and leader John Terry was Red carded in the 37th minute, surely this was a near impossible task for Chelsea now.

With the half time whistle looming, Chelsea were desperate to get into the dressing room all square, however Andres Iniesta had other ideas and put the Catalan giants 2-0 up in the game and gave them the aggregate lead in the tie. Chelsea looked sunk but a moment of brilliance right on half time by Brazilian Ramires made the half time score 2-1 and the aggregate score 2-2, with Chelsea ahead thanks to the away goals rule.

 

Chelsea survived a torrent of Barcelona pressure in the second half and it was infact Chelsea who got the only goal of the half, Spaniard Fernando Torress breaking away deep into injury time to put the tie beyond any doubt and sending any person affiliated with Chelsea into absolute rapture. Although through to the final Chelsea would be without 4 key players, all missing through suspension, which were Ramiers, Ivanovic and Meireles who all had an accumilaiton of Yellow cards, joined by John Terry who was straight Red carded, so instantly missed the next game, a cruel punishment for all players involved.

 

The opponents for Chelsea would be German side Bayern Munich and everything seemed in the German's favour, with the final being played at the Allianz Arena, the home of Bayern Munich. Surely the German's would not lose on home soil. The game itself was a tense and tight affair, both teams looking to attack but neither willing to over commit men forward for fear of being caught on the counter attack. The game looked to be heading for extra time but German international Thomas Muller had other ideas, heading home on the 83rd minute to seemingly seal the trophy for Bayern Munich. Chelsea rallied themselves, thier heads did not drop and a well worked corner resulted in who else, but tallisman Didier Drogba heading home to level the tie 1-1 and send the game into extra time.

 

So to extra time the game went and Drogba; a hero only minutes earlier, turned villian as he uphended Ribery in the box to give Bayern Munich a penalty! Former Chelsea player Arjen Robben stepped up to take the spot kick but was denied by Petr Cech, nobody was more relieved than Drogba by that miss, was the writing on the wall for Chelsea to at long last lift the most coverted of all trophies?

 

The game ended all square at 1-1, 120 minutes of football could not split the 2 sides, so to a penalty shoot out the game went and the penalties were to be taken at the end where all the Bayern Munich fans were, what more could go in the German sides favour? Bayern went first with club captian Lahm cooly sloting home but Chelsea missed thier first spot kick, with Neuer denying Juan Mata from 12 yards. Mario Gomez easily beat Cech and following a mamoth run up, David Luiz hammered home for Chelsea. Bayern Munich's next penalty taker was to be thier goal keeper Manuel Neuer, who beat his opposite number 1 with consumate ease. Chelsea captain Frank Lampard did what was expected of him and found the back of the net with his spot kick, making it 3-2 to Bayern Munich after 3 penalties each.

 

Olic had his penalty expertly saved by Petr Cech, giving Ashley Cole the opportunity to level the shoot out, an opportunity he took, thundering his spot kick home, 3-3! The last penalty taker for Bayern was to be club legend Bastian Schweinsteiger, who after a stalled run up beat Petr Cech only to find his shot cannon of the post and bounce out, meaning if Chelsea scored their last penalty they would win. Who would have the nerve to do what John Terry did not do years earlier, who other than Didier Drogba? The Ivorian had announced earlier in the season this was to be his last game for the club, could he give Chelsea and owner Roman Abramovich the most fitting of leaving presents, the European Cup?

 

Drogba walked slowly and calmly upto the box, precisely placing the ball on the spot and took measured steps back to give him his run up. Neuer was doing all he could to put the Ivorian off, motioning on the line, it seemed an age before Drogba was permitted by the referee to take the kick. He took a giant step forward and cooly slotted the ball into the back of the net, sending Neuer the wrong way and sending Chelsea fans into sheer delerium. Drogba burst into tears and in that moment realised a dream shared by all connected with Chelsea, to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy!

 

Creative Toys Company chose the perfect way to commemorate this historic win, by releasing a 23 figure celebration pack. The pack featured all 22 players of the squad and of course winning manager Roberto Di Matteo. The pack was strictly limited to just 5,000 pieces, with each pack being accompanied by a individually numbered certificate of authenticity and collector cards were also issued. Fittingly SoccerStarz released the figures on Blue base only, a nice touch and really added to the look of the pack, especially for those who would chose to display thier figures loose.

 

The pack featured many sculpts we would be unlikely to see again, such as Drogba, Kalou, Turnbull, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Malouda and Meireles. Kalou had shaven a Spider into his hair for the final and SoccerStarz recreated this expertly for this pack, as they did with Raul Meireles' interesting hair cut, also including his many tattoo's. This pack also gave collectors their first SoccerStarz in away kits, with the 4 players who sadly missed the final through suspension being painted in the kit they wore against Barcelona in the Nou Camp. Those 4 players being John Terry, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles.

 

This was the first box set released by Soccerstarz and i personally hope it is not the last, great to see them do the entire squad, not just a few choice players, making it a must for all collectors, the only thing it was missing was a figure of owner Roman Abramovich!

Roberto Di Matteo

Suit

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CL Winners 2012

Michael Essien

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

John Terry

Third Kit 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Ashley Cole

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Petr Cech

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Frank Lampard

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Juan Mata

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Fernando Torres

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Daniel Sturridge

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Paulo Ferreira

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Ross Turnbull

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Oriol Romeu

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

David Luiz

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Ryan Bertrand

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Gary Cahill

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Ramires

Third kit 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Didier Drogba

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Raul Meireles

Third Kit 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Branislav Ivanovic

Third Kit 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Solomon Kalou

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Florent Malouda

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

Jose Bosingwa

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

John Obi Mikel

Home 2011/12

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CL Winners 2012

bertrand bosingwa CAHILLOK-250 cechOK-250 coleOK-250 DI-MATTEO-250 FERRIRA-250 essienOK-250 drogbaOK-250 KALOU-250 IVANOVIC3rd-250 lampardOK-250 LUIZ-250 MALOUDA-250 MIKEL-250 MIERELES3rd mataOK-250 RAMIRES3RD-250 TERRY3rd-250 sturridge-250OK ROMEU-250 torres-250OK TURNBULL-250 cl-pack_01 cl-pack_02 cl-pack_04 cl-pack_05 ss chelsea cl display

Chelsea

UEFA Champions League Winners 2012

Special Celebration Pack

chelsea box

SoccerStarz also released 9 of the figures as single blister packs, which are Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres, Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand, Paulo Ferreira, Ross Turnbull, Oriol Romeu, David Luiz and John Obi Mikel.

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