Petrescu: Chelsea deserve to win trophy

Chelsea old boy Dan Petrescu was a picture of despair when the club he adores lost the 2008 Champions League final and he is desperate for them to win the trophy for the first time against Bayern Munich on Saturday.

"I am delighted to see them in the final," Petrescu, now coach of Russian top-flight club Kuban Krasnodar, told Reuters in an interview.

"I hope they win it this time because they deserve to," said Petrescu in a reference to Chelsea's record of reaching five Champions League semi-finals since 2004.

"I went to the final against Manchester United in Moscow in 2008 and I really want them to put that right this time. That was a very big disappointment for everyone at the club and also for me because I was there watching in the stands."

The former Romania wing-back was the first overseas player to make 100 appearances for Chelsea.

Petrescu helped the Londoners to win the 1997 FA Cup and the 1998 League Cup and was sent off in their 1998 European Cup Winners' Cup final victory over another German team, VfB Stuttgart.

The 44-year-old is enjoying his time in Russian football but said he would jump at the chance to return to Stamford Bridge.

"My daughter's name is Chelsea and I had the best time of my career at that club," said Petrescu. "I'll always love the club for sure.


"All the ex-Chelsea players who have become coaches would love to lead the club one day. I haven't yet had the chance to coach in England but it's my dream to go back to Stamford Bridge.

"I've had offers from other clubs in the past but for me there's only one team in London - that's Chelsea. I can't imagine working for another London club."

Petrescu, who played for Steaua Bucharest in their 1989 European Cup final defeat by AC Milan, and interim coach Roberto Di Matteo talk on the phone every two to three days and he said his friend and former team mate had one simple task to perform on Saturday.

"Robbie must pick a winning team," the Romanian said with a chuckle. "I think it's a 50-50 game and I would never try to tell him what to do because he knows his players better than me.

"Both teams have several suspensions but Chelsea have a big squad and Robbie can't turn around if they lose and say we were beaten because we had lots of players missing.

"He must be positive and try to find the best solution. All the Chelsea players are good, that's for sure, and it doesn't really matter who plays."

Petrescu, who featured in Romania's quarter-final defeat by Sweden in the 1994 World Cup, said he was held in high regard in Russia.

"I'm in a very good situation right now, all the big clubs in Russia want me," he explained.

"The club where I am now want to give me a seven-year contract but if a big team from England, especially Chelsea, were interested then I'd come back straight away."