Ukrainian goal-machine Andriy Shevchenko is the latest recruit to Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich's multi-million pound spending spree in West London.
Following the captures of German skipper Michael Ballack and one of the Dutch Eredivisie's most lethal marksman, Salomon Kalou, Chelsea's £31million snatch of the Milan superstar gives them an apparently awesome potential in the upcoming season.
'Sheva-gol' became a Serie A legend and the Berlusconi millions and a 10,000 signature petition were not enough to beat the Russian lucre. Losing their biggest star is a real defeat for Italian football, which fifteen years ago could pluck the best players from across the globe including England. The striker's insistence he was staying at Milan was also more proof that public pronouncements mean nothing - remember Real Madrid's "never, never, never," just before they signed David Beckham?
The much-reported factor was Shevchenko's American wife's desire for their child to speak English above all other languages.
Kristen Pazak joins an elite club of pushy footballers' wives, the queen of whom must be Danny Coster, wife of the hardly shy and retiring Johann Cruyff, but who successfully prevented him from playing in the 1978 World Cup after rumours of Dutch players partying around the pool with naked German girls in 1974.
Shevchenko, who grew up eighty miles from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, carries the weight of his nation's expectations at the World Cup finals. Ukraine were the most impressive of European qualifiers but are appearing at the finals for the first time.
This article is Copyright © Sean O'Conor and Soccerphile.com
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