Branislav Ivanovic’s very first reaction to a reporter’s revelation about his suspension from the UEFA Champions League final next month has already spread like wildfire but after composing himself, the Chelsea defender has delivered a highly emotional response the incident.
Ivanovic, one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers this season, exceeded his yellow-card limit with a booking late in the first half of last night’s 2-2 draw away to FC Barcelona.
While the result at Camp Nou was enough to propel the Blues past last season’s winners 3-2 on aggregate, the tense defensive atmosphere at the heart of the visitors’ defense did not even let Ivanovic digest the fact that he had accumulated too many yellows.
Having lost skipper John Terry to a red car moments before Ivanovic’s booking, Chelsea will now be without two of their best defenders for the final clash with either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, and it is only natural for the West Londoners to be concerned.
For Ivanovic, concern is not the only feeling; the Serb is also inconsolable because of losing the opportunity to represent his club in a career-defining match.
“My booking? I got it for kicking the penalty spot before the penalty (which Lionel Messi missed). It was strange,” Ivanovic bemoaned.
The 28-year old added: “Of course if feel aggreived. We can’t talk about the referee’s decisions but, to be honest, it feels like someone has taken something from your career.
“But I have to be positive. Nobody believed we’d get through and we did. Yes, Chelsea can win it without us [the suspended players] if we go into the game with the mentality we showed here.”
Ivanovic famously scored the winning goal against Napoli in the Round of 16 to complete a stunning comeback for the Blues – a moment that certainly proved to be season-defining for them.