The Europa League has admitted the prospect of being won by Chelsea is 'underwhelming', telling close friends that it sees the Premier League heavyweights as an obligation it would rather not have to think about.
Chelsea take on Rubin Kazan tonight in their quarter final second leg, and are hot favourites to win not just the tie, but also to the trophy at the end of the season, something the recently-rebranded cup competition is equivocal about at best.
"Obviously I take Chelsea seriously, to a point," said the trophy that was until 2009 called the UEFA Cup. "But when you're used to the swashbuckling glamour of a Porto or an Atletico Madrid, or the old-fashioned romance of Shakhtar [Donetsk] or Spartak [Moscow] battling through the early rounds on frozen pitches for a shot at glory, a bunch of uninterested millionaires strolling around a half-empty Stamford Bridge feels like a comedown."
"In six months' time, will I remember being raised aloft by John Terry? Will I look back fondly on a jaded Branislav Ivanoic indifferently spraying his teammates with champagne, or Fernando Torres' dutiful attempt at horseplay in front of a cluster of politely applauding supporters? No chance."
The Europa League emphasised that it was bound by a sense of professional duty to respect Chelsea, but that it looked forward to a time when it wouldn't have to think about the 2012 Champions League winners.
"They'll probably be back next season, though," Europe's second-most important cup competition added.
"Which I find really depressing."
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