Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte has made his third signing of the transfer window with the capture of Eduardo from the champions of Croatia for an undisclosed fee.
The Blues have so far only been able to make two signings, despite the Italian manager hoping to bring in more new faces to bolster the ranks at Stamford Bridge. Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante have been signed from Marseille and defending Premier League champions Leicester City respectively for combined fees of more than £60 million.
Now 33-year-old Portuguese international Eduardo has also arrived, offering some competition to the Blues’ current goalkeepers. Thibaut Courtois is Chelsea’s first-choice shot-stopper and Asmir Begovic is the club’s number two, but Eduardo is not coming to West London merely to make up the numbers. He told the club’s official website that he intends to fight for his place in the side, “I respect all the choices but I would be saying it wrong if I wasn’t saying I will do my best to get my opportunity and fight every day for it. That is the way we should be – have respect for everybody and fight for a place. That is what professionals do”.
The experienced shot-stopper already knows some faces at Stamford Bridge, having played with the club’s combustible striker Diego Costa during his days at Braga. The goalkeeper confirmed that the forward maybe a little bit older but he’s still the hungry player that he was when he was a kid. He said, “Of course he has developed a lot but his way of playing, he was always the same. He fought for every ball, he wanted to win and if there was a ball you let go he was always there. Now he is a big player with a big talent but I see him out there and he reminds me a little of our past when we were kids. His personality and the way he plays the game was already there. Of course at that age it was impossible to predict what you are going to achieve but he was talented and fortunately for him he is now on this level and he can develop more and more”.
Eduardo also worked with the club’s goalkeeping coach Gianluca Spinelli when he was at Genoa and praised him for the help he gave him in developing his game. He said, “He is a tremendous coach. He always looks for new ways of training and learning and he is very concerned about the goalkeepers not just professionally but personally. He helped me a lot at Genoa and we have been friends since then, so it is a privilege to work with him and earn his trust”.
Eduardo isn’t the first player from Portugal to line-up for the Blues and he said that conversations with international team-mates who know Chelsea from their past helped to sway his decision. He said, “I still play with Ricardo Carvalho in the national team and he and Paulo Ferreira proved the talent they have when they were here. They are fantastic people and examples in Portugal. Of course I know Hilario. I saw him play in Portugal and we were colleagues in the national team and I know him personally. He is a fantastic person. He is an example for me and when we talked he said coming to Chelsea was a good opportunity for me. I spoke to the Portuguese who played here and they all say the same, it was an amazing experience and the opportunity to come here was a great moment in their careers”.
The 33-year-old was part of the Portuguese team that won the European Championships in France this summer and claims that the victory has given him a new lease of life as a player. He said, “They are moments of happiness and that is the best feeling so I am very happy with what happened. It was a brilliant moment in my life and career but I hope it won’t stop. I hope we will achieve even more”.