A big player for the big occasion. Steered Chelsea into their first Champions League final with two goals against Liverpool in 2008, but was sent off in the showpiece for slapping Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic. Scored the second goal against Liverpool in this year's FA Cup final and wth so many injuries in the Blues camp much will fall on the shoulders of the powerful Ivory Coast striker, who could be joining former Chelsea team-mate Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai Shenhua. Nowhere near as prolific as he was two years ago but still a handful for any defender.
One game, one champion
The UEFA Champions League Final, airing on FOX this Saturday at 2:30 PM EST, will be a match filled with soccer stars battling for the trophy, and of course, European bragging rights. Check out these six players to keep a close eye on during the game.
Franck Ribery, M/W, Bayern Munich
The brilliant France winger played his part in booking Bayern's place in their fourth European Cup final in 14 years by scoring in the opening leg against Real Madrid. Infamously missed the 2010 final after he was suspended for standing on the ankle of Lyon's Lisandro Lopez in the first leg of the semi-final. Despite appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport his three-match ban stood, and Bayern certainly missed him as they lost 2-0 to Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan in the final at the Bernabeu. Has been in superb form this season, scoring 12 goals and providing 20 assists which kept Bayern in the title race although they ere to fall just short of eventual winner and defending champion Borussia Dortmund. Reportedly involved in a dressing-room bust-up with teammate Arjen Robben during the half-time break of the 2-1 win against Real Madrid for which he was fined. The two came to blows because Ribery was denied the chance to take a 40th-minute free-kick.
Mario Gomez, F, Bayern Munich
Gomez has followed up last season's exploits with another sensational campaign in which he has scored 41 goals in all competitions. Manchester City won't forget him in a hurry as it was his two goals which effectively ended their hopes of reaching the knockout stage, although Carlos Tevez's 'refusal' to warm up that night certainly contributed. Has scored five-hat-tricks this season, including a 25-minute first-half treble against Napoli in November. Gomez started on the bench in the 2010 Champions League final and was only given 15 minutes to make a difference as a late substitite but there is no doubt he will be in the starting line-up on Saturday when he will be playing in front of his home fans at the Allianz Arena.
Arjen Robben, M/W, Bayern Munich
The flying Dutchman is a controversial figure at Bayern but there is no doubting the genius of a player lining up against his former club. Robben was signed by Jose Mourinho when he took over at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2004 and although he made a slow start to his Blues career he picked up and proved to be a brilliant signing working in tandem with Damien Duff on the other wing. Robben was eventually sold by Mourinho three years later because he thought he was too fragile to have the will to win. His string of injuries suggest Nourinho had a point. The Dutchman has also often been criticized by high-ranking officials because it is felt he plays for himself and not the team. His fight with Franck Ribery over who should take a free-kick has already been documented. It seemed inevitable the Holland international would be leaving in the summer but he recently signed a two-year contract extension. Despite having an ego the size of a football the tricky winger has the talent to match.
Petr Cech, GK, Chelsea
In a team full of underachievers domestically Petr Cech has had a good solid season. He has been one of the mainstays of a Chelsea team that has lifted multiples trophies over the past 8 years. The one trophy that has eluded him though is the Champions League, having failed before in the final. Cech was instrumental in Chelsea's march to the final with a shut-out in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final. He was then part of a back five in the second leg that defended for much of the game with ten men. No doubt he will want to right the wrongs of previous final defeats and provide inspiration for his back four.
Didier Drogba, F, Chelsea
The Chelsea talisman will be up for this clash with German opponents, having been involved in Champions League finals before and not succeeded. He scored an all-important goal in the first leg of the semifinal against Barcelona to put Chelsea in control going into the second leg. It is not the only important goal he has scored this year having netted the winner in the 2012 FA cup final against Liverpool. More importantly, with players such as John Terry and Raul Meireles missing it ias more important Drogba steps up to the plate for this clash. His power, skill and love for the big games is sure to be a potential final decider.
Fernando Torres, F, Chelsea
Towards the end of the season Torres was washed up, without a friend in the world and virtually finished as a player. Then suddenly he was sent clear at the Camp Nou, rounded goalkeeper Victor Valdes and the rest is history. He followed up that cameo role with a hat-trick in his next game - a 6-1 drubbing of QPR which had many thinking the good times were just around the corner. Certainly looked sharp in the 4-1 Premier League defeat by Liverpool (he stayed on the bench for the FA Cup final) but still a long way from his best and probably won't start against Bayern Munich. However, his confidence is back and given the chance he could prove to be an unlikely match-winner from the bench.