In the second of this Chelsea VAVEL two-part feature, Florent Malouda delves into his take on Frank Lampard as the new manager of Chelsea, what it was like to play for the Blues and his infamous FA Cup Final strike.
The French winger signed for Chelsea in 2007 from Olympique Lyon for an astounding £17million and went on to embed himself into the Blues history books.
Malouda made 229 appearances for Chelsea contributing directly towards 89 goals, meanwhile winning six pieces of silverware – all of which was which was alongside Chelsea’s all-time top goal scorer, Lampard.
‘He’s an inspiration’
The pair shared the stage at the highest level together throughout Chelsea’s most prosperous period and the Frenchman is now excited to see what the future holds for Lampard.
Malouda sung Lampard’s praises and followed on by labelling the Englishman an ‘inspiration’, ‘leader’ and ‘a very good example’.
“[Lampard’s] an inspiration,” began the Frenchman. “I’ve played with him, so I have known him as a leader, by everything he was doing on the pitch and in training, his attitude. To see the transfer into a management career is a very good example to follow.”
A segue from Part 1, the 39-year-old winger continued by expressing his excitement ahead of the pair’s clash, as Chelsea welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge.
Malouda described the meeting almost as a ‘father and son’ reunion:
“It’s kind of strange! I wouldn’t say father and son, but I know [Carlo Ancelotti] really trusted Frank and Frank had a great time under him, and developed as a player under Carlo, like all of us.
“To see Frank starting his management career at this level and for them to meet, it will be special, and emotional for both of them. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes during the game, and how they manage their emotions.”
‘We loved to play at Wembley’
Amidst Chelsea’s FA Cup triumph over the red side of Merseyside and ahead of the Blues’ clash with Everton, Malouda revealed his experiences playing for Chelsea in the FA Cup and how the absence of VAR stole the goal of his career!
“We loved to play at Wembley,” he said. “Maybe because we had that experience, but we all had a great feeling about the atmosphere and we really felt we were ready.”
Chelsea defeated Everton in the 2009 FA Cup Final 2-1 which saw the Toffees take an early lead. From feeling confident in the build-up, to suddenly conceding an early goal, Malouda described the feeling like a cold shower:
“The game started, and we conceded an early goal, like a cold shower. We had a really relaxed reaction to that goal. We were still confident. The scenario of the game from that point was us starting to build our win.
“We had no rush, we knew how to manage the Everton team, and we stuck to the game-plan even though we conceded a goal. That’s how we built up the equaliser of Didier [Drogba]. Then we carried on playing the same way. We weren’t cautious about getting caught on the counterattack.
“We really played with personality. I remember Frank’s goal, left foot, top corner. It felt good, and the celebration with Guus Hiddink afterwards. It was a great memory.”
Despite winning up the prestigious trophy, Malouda recalls how the best goal of his career slipped away from him…
“For my shot I remember I was a bit tired,” continued Malouda. “I don’t know how I got the ball, but sometimes you are fed up and you just want to explode the ball! I was too far away to tell if it was in. There was no VAR. Afterwards, when I saw the goal, I was a bit annoyed.
“That would have been the best goal of my life!”
Ancelotti unlocked doors
Malouda won the 2009/10 Chelsea Player’s Player of the Year award which saw the winger play an instrumental role in securing the domestic treble – trophies included the Premier League, FA Cup and FA Community Shield.
He featured 51 times in all competitions contributing directly towards 30 goals. A season he has dedicated to Ancelotti for allowing him to play with freedom.
“Carlo opened up the doors for me,” revealed Malouda. “So, I took more responsibility and people were like: ‘wow, he is able to do it’.
“I think it was maybe not my best season at Chelsea, but the one I improved the most. Year after year I improved, but that season I got to a whole different level.”