Rafael Benitez has said that Chelsea are hopeful of winning the Club World Cup in Japan this week, with the Chelsea boss describing the is as a “massive tournament.” Chelsea play Mexican side Monterrey on Thursday, with the final against Corinthians or Al Ahly on Sunday if they progress. Benitez won the tournament with Inter Milan in 2010.
Petr Cech says the club is happy with the tag of favourites, saying that will have to live up to that billing on the pitch:
“We were already straight into the semi-finals, like Corinthians, so we have to be seen as the favourites, I can live with that fact. It's not a problem for us. We came to do our best and try to win the competition, and we can assume the position of favourites and will try to prove this on the pitch.”
Fernando Torres has also talked up the tournament, saying the attention it gets from the Brazilian fans shows how important it is. Torres heads to Japan on the back of two consecutive braces for Chelsea, with hope from Blues fans that he might be getting back to his best.
Frank Lampard is looking forward to being a key player for Chelsea in their upcoming matches, having recovered from the calf problem that kept him out in recent weeks. Lamaprd played 11 minutes in the match at Sunderland, and is hoping that the hard work done in the gym will ensure he doesn’t suffer a recurrence of the injury.
In transfer news, Chelsea re reportedly very close to completing the signing of Serbian wonderkid Lazar Markovic from Partizan Belgrade. The 18 year old striker has been monitored by the club for some time, and are rumoured to be close to announcing an £8 million deal to be completed next month, with Markovic perhaps going back on loan for a year afterwards. However Partizan’s sporting director has said that he knows nothing about a deal.
Another striker Chelsea are reportedly hoping to sign is Radamel Falcao, who scored five goals in Atletico’s 6-0 win at the weekend. Chelsea reportedly sent an assistant to Madrid over the weekend to discuss a move, but they may face competition from Real Madrid, with sources in Spain saying that Real are confident they can convince Falcao to leave their city rivals.