Fomer Chelsea player Carlo Cudicini has spoken about Ray Wilkins, after the former player turned pundit and coach passed away.
Football mourned the man no one had a bad word to say about with a minutes silence this weekend, and Chelsea were a club who felt the loss harder than most clubs given his connection to the Blues, and Cudicini has opened up about how hard it’s been – and his best memories of his friend.
“I was just walking in for breakfast in the morning when I was told the news,” Cudicini told Standard Sport.
“This is a tragedy that will affect you today, tomorrow, the following day, next week… it stays with you.
“It was a big surprise when the news first came up about him [being ill], for a few days everyone was hoping that perhaps he could have recovered.
“But when news of his death was official, it was a big disappointment because you wouldn’t expect something like that to happen to such a nice person.
“It’s difficult around here at Cobham, there is this really sad atmosphere especially for the people that know him quite well.
“My memories of Ray go back a long time because in the ’80s when I was a kid, a keen AC Milan supporter, I was following the team and going to the stadium every Sunday and he was such an iconic player for AC Milan at the time.
“I went from supporting him in the stands to, finally in 1999 when I joined Chelsea, to meeting him personally. He was assistant coach and it was a great emotion for me to meet him.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but I had the pleasure to get to know him better and spend time with him. He was very helpful for me, especially in the first season because obviously you move countries, have difficulties with the language and he could speak Italian.
“For me, he was a big help and a comfort to have somebody in the staff who could speak Italian and try and help me settle.”
Big end to the season
Cudicini’s former side Chelsea face a huge end to their season, and could well see yet another change of manager come the summer.
Fellow Italian Antonio Conte looks to be on his way out of the club, and after the way he’s performed at times and attacked the board, there’s little wonder, and it seems that the manager wants to go back to his native country.
That of course puts Chelsea in the position where they do have to find a new manager and quite who that will end up being is anyone’s guess with reports ranging from Luis Enrique to the Blues wanting to lure Mauricio Pochettino from across London.