Chelsea merry-go-round

Notwithstanding a net worth of $10.7 billion, Roman Abramovich had to wait for nearly a decade. The oligarch who spent a decent chunk of his oil dollars over nine years at Chelsea FC in his quest to achieve the Champions League title had to bide his time. Then, the only man who did deliver it to him this May, in the most glorious of circumstances, was sacked six months after Chelsea's, or Abramovich's, finest hour. As the proverbial icing on the cake, Roberto Di Matteo was replaced by Rafael Benitez, unemployed for two years due to his last two outings as a certified managerial disaster. Welcome to the incoherent playground of sport's wealthy. If owners in the IPL have often reduced their players to party ambassadors off the field, the bigwigs of the English Premier League take it a step further by interfering with on-field calls. "Not been good enough for the owner," was Chelsea's official line on Di Matteo's boot. Di Matteo not good enough despite winning the czar one-fifth of all his silverware in just eight months of his stewardship?

Surely that phrase should then apply to Abramovich's ninth managerial signing, Benitez. His previous assignment was to steer Inter Milan (the then reigning Champions League winners to go with their six back-to-back Serie A titles) to further glory, but he ensured they've gone title-less since. He was sacked, just the way he was after England's most decorated football club, Liverpool, went from title contenders to their current image as mid-tablers during his era.

Di Matteo might have seen it coming. Despite papering over the fractures following the sacking of the previous manager, and despite going on to win the FA Cup and the Champions League to complete a dramatic turnaround to Chelsea's season, the Italian interim was told by Abramovich that he wasn't good enough. Money, it seems, has little faith.

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