Former Arsenal midfielder Edu looking forward to Chelsea clash
Corinthians director of football Edu Gaspar is looking forward to his side's potential Club World Cup clash with Chelsea in December, but admits that the Blues bear no resemblance to the side he remembers.
Edu, 34, spent four years in English football with Arsenal from 2001-05 and made a fine reputation for himself, winning two league titles and three FA Cups.
Whilst Chelsea underwent a takeover by Roman Abramovich in 2003, it took the Blues a couple of seasons to find the identity that has served them pretty much ever since, as Edu remembers.
"Quite some time has passed since then. It's a different era," he told reporters. "The Chelsea that I played had an undefined philosophy, with an investor arriving, there was was much suspicion. I still played against strong teams but the scenario was different.
"The philosophy of this Chelsea is well defined, with great signings. It's a strong team with a specific game-plan, they are going through a good phase. They won the Champions League - the biggest dream - and they are doing very well in the Premier League.
Edu also found time to praise both the players and support of this current Chelsea side, adding that he hopes to meet the Blues in December's final.
He added: "Chelsea deserve our respect simply due to the players they have and also for their great support. But, we are also in a good period. I hope to meet them in the final."
Edu has already played an active role in the club's preparations for the tournament, visiting Japan last week to inspect the club's hotel and training facilities, as well as the stadium itself.