'Chelsea need Roman Abramovich back': Blues legend Ivanovic calls for owner's return to Stamford Bridge
Chelsea legend Branislav Ivanovic says that the return of club owner Roman Abramovich to Stamford Bridge is crucial if the former Premier League champions are to get back to their best.
Abramovich purchased Chelsea in 2003 and has pumped millions into the club to establish the London side as one of European football's elite sides.
But the billionaire, 52, has not been in attendance at home games for more than a year, after suffering visa issues amid the row between Britain and Russia over the Skripal spy poisoining.Also on rt.com Chelsea owner Abramovich makes rare appearance at Austria friendly as Pedro nets wondergoal (VIDEO)
Former Blues ace Ivanovic, 35, who now plays his football at Russia's Zenit St. Petersburg, says that this impasse must be addressed if the club wish to resume their status as one of England's title challengers.
"This is a new Chelsea team," Ivanovic told FourFourTwo. "The club didn’t have the perfect season last year, but still finished third.
"Chelsea need Roman Abramovich back. That’s the most important thing for all the fans. We want to see him at Stamford Bridge, then Chelsea will be among the best teams in Europe once again.
"He's been one of the most important people in my career, and I appreciate everything he’s done for me. Whenever I had a difficult moment at Chelsea, he always believed in me. I owe him a lot."
Ivanovic was a fixture of Chelsea's defence for years, playing nearly 400 games in nine years with Chelsea and was described by Jose Mourinho as one of the club's best-ever signings.
"When the greatest manager in Chelsea history, and one of the best managers ever, says that, it means a lot," he said. "I'm lucky I had the opportunity to work with him.
"Chelsea was the best part of my career and a massive part of my life. I was so happy in London and am proud to have been there for such a long time."Also on rt.com US baseball tycoon mulling bid for Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea – reports
Chelsea are now on their 14th manager of the Abramovich era as all-time top goalscorer Frank Lampard was appointed to the dugout after Maurizio Sarri's sole season in charge and, tasked with stabilizing the club through a transfer ban as well as overcoming the departure of Eden Hazard, Chelsea have seen a host of young players make their mark in the early stages of the season.