MARIO MELCHIOT thought his Chelsea career was over before he had even kicked a ball for the club.
The former Dutch right-back secured a dream move to Stamford Bridge from Ajax in 1999.Mario Melchiot feared his career was over after securing a dream move to Chelsea[/caption]
However, he broke his foot TWICE in his first season with the Blues before finally making his debut.
Recalling his arrival in England, Melchiot exclusively told Ladbrokes Fanzone: “When I signed for Chelsea, of course I was very happy, and it was a very proud and special moment for me.
“But I broke my foot twice in one season. Before I’d even kicked a ball for the team, I thought my football career was finished.
“As a young boy, you know, when you come over to England, you’re so excited; moving to a new country, signing for a big club and preparing for the new challenge.
“But then you’re ruled out by an injury and that feeling is just completely taken over by sadness.
“I broke it once, and then a couple of months later I broke it again. So I’m sat there just thinking ‘I haven’t even played football for this club, and I’ve broken my foot twice.’
“So, you can imagine, when I finally recovered, and I stepped onto that pitch at Stamford Bridge for the first time, against Middlesbrough… Oh my God. It was the best moment of my life.
“I don’t want to say it was a life-saving moment, but it was something like that, because I was so desperate to play football again, and I had moments where I thought my career had been taken away from me.
“Finally, I was able to live my dream again. That was the proudest moment for me, in a Chelsea shirt.”
He departed for Birmingham in 2004 after five years in West London.
During his time in England, the former Netherlands international played 283 times in the Premier League for Chelsea, Birmingham and Wigan.
He also had spells with Rennes and Qatari side Umm Salal before retiring in 2011 aged 34.Melchiot made 164 appearances and scored five goals during five years with Chelsea[/caption]