Schwarzer delighted with Champions League debut

12 December 2013 12:32

Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer said he had fulfilled a lifetime's ambition by finally making his Champions League debut aged 41.

Schwarzer, standing in for the rested Petr Cech, got his first taste of Europe's elite club competition in Chelsea's final Group E fixture against Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday.

The Australian kept a clean-sheet as Chelsea cruised to a 1-0 win over the Romanians which ensured they finished top of the group.

It was an important result for Chelsea, but the significance of a chilly evening at Stamford Bridge was even greater for Schwarzer, who became the oldest Champions League debutant at 41 years and 66 days, and also the second oldest player ever to appear in the Champions League.

After spending much of his career with Middlesbrough and Fulham, Schwarzer joined Chelsea on a free transfer in pre-season as back-up to Cech.

This was just his third appearance for Jose Mourinho's team and he admitted it was one of the most memorable of his illustrious career.

"That was huge," Schwarzer told the Daily Mail. "My wife always says I'm unemotional. I'm very German, she says, in that respect but I was elated, after the game especially.

"The manager had faith in me and trusted me and gave me this opportunity to fulfil a lifetime's ambition to play at the highest level, in the Champions League.

"I realised a couple of years ago that you can never say never and that you can keep hoping and that things will maybe swing your way. You've just got to keep doing the right things and working hard towards it."

As group winners, Chelsea will be seeded for the draw on Monday and will face one of AC Milan, Galatasaray, Olympiakos, Bayer Leverkusen or Zenit St Petersburg in the last 16.

And after watching the Champions League on television for so many years, Schwarzer is just thrilled to be part of a club capable of advancing deep into the competition.

"It's exciting," said Schwarzer. "I've always been sat watching these draws from afar so I feel very privileged to be in this position.

"I want to make the most of it. I'm loving the journey thus far and I want to continue on the journey.

"Demand is huge at this club to be successful and I want to enjoy that aspect of it.

"I'm enjoying the expectation of winning every single game which is as footballers what you want to do.

"I want to win trophies. That's why I've come to Chelsea, the same as every other player here and every supporter of this club."

Despite keeping a clean-sheet against Steaua, Schwarzer, who recently retired from international football, expects to be back on the bench when Crystal Palace visit the Bridge in the Premier League this weekend.

"Petr will definitely play at the weekend, for sure," Schwarzer added.

"As far as I'm concerned he's No.1, he's a world-class goalkeeper and he will go on to bigger and better things. I work with him every day and he's a top guy."

Source: AFP