CHELSEA demolished Arsenal 4-1 in the Europa League final in Baku, but fans might not have spotted one person who had made the difficult journey to Azerbaijan.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich made the trip to the Olympic Stadium to watch his first competitive Blues game in over a year.
The 52-year-old Russian billionaire was forced to leave London after he was unable to extend his visa in the UK and as a result he hasn’t been able to watch Chelsea at home since last summer.
Abramovich was granted Israeli citizenship and moved to Tel Aviv after his UK visa expired.
It is believed the British government would have required Abramovich to disclose some of his financial records if he had wanted his UK visa to be renewed.
I think I deserve to stay but it’s only my opinion
Abramovich had to wait until the second half to see the Blues take the lead, when former Gunners striker Olivier Giroud opened Chelsea’s account with a diving header in the 49th minute.
This was followed up by goals from Pedro and Eden Hazard, who scored a brace, which sealed victory for Chelsea and ended Arsenal’s and their fans hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.
After the final whistle Abramovich quickly made his way down from the stands to congratulate his players.
He even managed to pose for photographs with the trophy and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
Abramovich will be pleased to see his side add European silverware to the club’s collection, with the Blues last lifting a trophy in the Europa League back in 2012/13 – a year after winning the Champions League.
The Russian will now have a tough decision to make over the future of Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.
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The 60-year-old’s position as manager has been under threat for quite some time as a result of his deteriorating relationship with the club’s fans.
Sarri took over as manager of Chelsea last summer after having led Napoli to two second-placed finishes in his three seasons in charge of the Serie A outfit.
However, following the decision by Juventus to part ways with boss Massimiliano Allegri at the end of the season, Sarri became the favourite to fill the soon-to-be vacant position in the dugout in Turin.
The rumours of Sarri’s imminent departure were also fuelled by the presence of Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli in Baku.
Agnelli was in Baku on UEFA business but Italian outlet Tuttosport reported that he met Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck in the club’s team hotel before kick-off.
The Europa League trophy is the first of Sarri’s career and the former banker feels that after reaching the final of the Carabao Cup and finishing third in the Premier League, along with victory in Baku, he deserves to remain at the club.
“I have to speak to my club,” Sarri said about his own future.
“The season finished one hour ago so tomorrow I will speak to the club, like every club at the end of the season.
“We need to know what the club can do for me, what I can do better for the club. In a couple of days we will decide, but I have a contract so at the moment we are talking about nothing.
“I am lucky because I am at Chelsea, one of the best clubs in the best championship in the world.
“At the moment I am happy, but of course I want to know if the club is happy and if we can improve.
“I think I deserve to stay but it’s only my opinion.”Sarri