Chelsea: The new Galacticos
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: 31/03/05 10:01am
Chelsea's Claude Makelele has warned The Premiership that Chelsea are set to dominate for decades.
The French midfield man had this severe warning for rivals Manchester United and Arsenal as Chelsea prepare to close in on the Premiership title. And Makelele believes that, as Real Madrid's ageing Galacticos fade away, Chelsea's young squad will emerge as the 'new Galacticos'.
The 32 year-old is well-placed to make such a judgment, having spent many years playing with Zidane and co. And he is currently bubbling with excitement at the prospect of seeing the likes of Damien Duff, Arjen Robben, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole progressing.
"I can see the potential of the team in the kind of football we play and the motivation that leads us," Makelele told The Daily Express.
"Everybody is enjoying it. We're a young team but we know what we want. We've got five or six in our team squad who will be outstanding players in three or four years' time."
Makelele also paid tribute to manager Jose Mourinho, who made the decision to keep Chelsea's £16.6 million midfielder after what could be termed an average first season in The Premiership.
"Jose Mourinho has his own personal touch that makes everyone listen," he stated. "We've taken the same philosophy on board and therefore we're all pulling in the same direction."
The claims of future domination coming from Makelele may cause football followers to recall a similar prediction from Arsene Wenger after Arsenal won The Premiership last season. However, Makelele's comments are tempered with a note of caution:
"I sense now is the time for us to achieve something. However, we need to gain experience and we need to show maturity in certain games. If we manage to reach this mature stage, a lot of teams will have difficulty beating us.
"The games are going to be played one after the other at a fantastic rate. I think our squad is deep enough for the challenge. As the season draws to a close, we'll have the feeling that the momentum has gathered pace."
And the likeable Frenchman, who won UEFA Champions League and League titles with Real Madrid, says he is getting a similar feeling and sense of anticipation to what he experienced during the glory years at the Bernabeu.
"The ambience at Real wasn't far from the one I'd experienced at Nantes and I've now found a comparable atmosphere at Chelsea," he revealed.
"Our group is a true unit. Everybody supports the forward lines and everyone shares the defensive duties."