Jesper Grønkjær - Club Career - Chelsea

Chelsea

In October 2000, Grønkjær joined Premier League club Chelsea for £7.8 million, which made him the then most expensive Danish football player. However, he was still sidelined with an injury until January 2001. His career at Chelsea lasted four years, and his erratic form caused much frustration for Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri and the Chelsea fans. However, at his best he was a constant threat and was capable of giving the best full-backs a tough game. He created and scored some very important goals for the club. In Chelsea's fourth round FA Cup match away to Gillingham on 28 January 2001, Grønkjær started his first match for the club and scored two goals and hit the post twice, as Chelsea won 4–2.

A notable example was when Grønkjær assisted the first goal and scored the second against Liverpool on the final day of the 2002–03 season at Stamford Bridge to give Chelsea a 2–1 victory and the important fourth place in the league, which allowed the club to qualify for the upcoming 2003–04 UEFA Champions League tournament. The importance of this result cannot be overstated, as qualification for the Champions League was considered essential to Roman Abramovich's impending takeover of the club. While talking about the goal in February 2011, Grønkjær said, "I remember the goal very well. I was on the right wing when we got a throw-in, but instead of passing I cut in from the right and beat three or four defenders before sticking it in the other corner. It was a nice feeling, and a good reward for a great season,". The goal has gone down in legend as the most important in Chelsea's history, as it paved the way for the Russian revolution. For this reason, it is often referred to as the "billion pound goal."

In the 2003–04 UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg away at Highbury Stadium, Grønkjær came on for Scott Parker in the second half, with Arsenal leading 1–0 on the night and 2–1 on aggregate. Within six minutes of the substitution, Chelsea equalized through a goal by Frank Lampard. As Wayne Bridge scored three minutes before the final whistle, Chelsea went on to defeat Arsenal 3–2 on aggregate and book a place in the semi-finals. In the following semi-final against AS Monaco, he scored from outside the penalty area with a cross-come-shot, but it was not enough for Chelsea to reach the final, as the club was defeated 5–3 on aggregate by Monaco.

Grønkjær also scored a strike in front of 67,000 fans at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the penultimate game of the 2003–04 season, the second of a three-game scoring streak. His final goal scored for Chelsea came the following week against Leeds United, where he scored the winner with a header in the first half.

Read more about this topic:  Jesper Grønkjær, Club Career

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