Chelsea’s ruthless Abramovich rewarded with Champions League title

A ruthless move by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to replace club icon Frank Lampard mid-season with Thomas Tuchel paid off handsomely on Saturday when the club beat Manchester City 1-0 to claim their second Champions League title.

The 54-year-old Abramovich, who took over Chelsea in 2003 and has since won five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues, has overseen 15 different managers in the intervening 18 years and is not known for his patience.

When Lampard was not delivering as manager earlier in the season, he was quickly shown the door.

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The former midfielder had started the season well with Chelsea topping both the Premier League and their Champions League group, but a run of two wins in eight games saw him dismissed in January, accompanied by a rare public statement from Abramovich.

“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” Abramovich said.

“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.”

With that Chelsea’s all-time top scorer was gone, with Tuchel, who coached the Paris St Germain team that lost last year’s final to Bayern Munich, swiftly brought in to replace him.

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Abramovich, a notoriously private individual, later explained the decision in a rare interview with Forbes.

“I think we are pragmatic in our choices, and we are comfortable making the right changes at the right time to ensure we can achieve our long-term ambitions,” he said.

“I hope it also says something about the clarity of the long-term ambition of the club. Those who join understand the objectives both on the pitch, as well as the wider positive role the club plays in the community.”

As well as pumping hundreds of millions of euros into the men’s team, Abramovich has invested heavily in the club’s women’s team, who won the Women’s Super League this season and lost their Champions League final 4-0 to Barcelona two weeks ago.

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