Grant rules out Chelsea return
Fulham defender Zdenek Grygera has retired from football,
manager Martin Jol has confirmed.
Grygera, who joined Fulham in 2011, did not have his contract
renewed at the end of the season after rupturing his anterior
The 32-year-old, who has earned 65 international caps for the
Czech Republic, continued his rehabilitation in the hope of earning
a new deal but has now called time on his playing career.
“Grygera told me that he will quit,” said Jol.
“He will stay with us until the December 15. He is retiring as
it is now as he first wants to be healthy, sound and get back to
his fitness because he has a few problems with his hip and his
“He was probably never 100 per cent, not even 90 per cent, but
he is an unbelievable character.
“He started two weeks ago but then after 10 minutes had to quit
again so he made the decision to call it a day for now.
“If he feels fine in the summer, maybe he could start somewhere
in Austria or in his country, the Czech Republic.
“It is a shame and it was hard for him, but he was very
realistic and of course he was not under contract here because he
never played games.
“I feel for him because I think there was another two or three
years in him but it was his decision.
“He is retiring from Fulham and England. He wants to be fit and
doesn’t want to end up in a wheelchair. That is actually what he
said and I know what he means.”
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The Spaniard has been under fire since his controversial
appointment at Stamford Bridge last month, with his unpopularity
amongst fans in large part down to comments he made about the west
Londoners and their fans whilst Liverpool boss.
Benitez has hardly done much to inspire faith with two draws and
a defeat in his opening three Barclays Premier League games –
scoring just one goal in that time – to slip 10 points behind
leaders Manchester United.
There are already reports that owner Roman Abramovich is looking
to replace Benitez but Grant shot down rumours linking him with a
return to the club he guided to the Champions League final in 2008
and added the former Valencia boss needs to be fully supported by
“Nobody from Chelsea has offered me this job,” the Israeli told
BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I heard a rumour but I think this is not what’s important.
“What’s important is Chelsea have a manager and the club need to
support him and not look for any other things.”
When asked if he would consider working alongside Benitez, Grant
responded: “I don’t think it’s the right idea for the moment.
“I don’t like to speak about myself now because I have other
things to do at this stage.
“I think Benitez is a very experienced coach and manager and I
don’t think a few weeks after they give him the job he will leave
and I don’t think it will be right.
“He needs to use all experience to take the club in a different
direction and they need to do everything to support him and not to
Benitez did at least claim his first victory with the Blues last
night although a 6-1 Champions League win over FC Nordsjaelland was
not enough to seal a passage to the knockout stages following
Juventus’ 1-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Chelsea instead became the first holders of the Champions League
crown to drop out of the tournament at the group stage.
Grant, who was last in charge of Partizan Belgrade, believes
Chelsea need to carry on winning in order to convince the club’s
supporters Benitez is the man for the job.
“Any winning is good and what Rafa needs is a good win and good
football really to convince the supporters that they need to
support him,” he added.
“But I think more than this the club needs to support him then
it will be easy for him because it’s not easy times for Chelsea,
first time out of the Champions League next stage and the gap
between them and the first place in the league, I think he needs it
and they need it.”