Chelsea named European Club of the Year after Champions League success

Roberto Di Matteo's Blues side are rewarded for their stunning victory on penalties against Bayern Munich in May to secure Roman Abramovich's much-coveted prize
Chelsea have been rewarded for their Champions League win last season by being crowned the European Club of the Year by the European Club Association.

Roberto Di Matteo led his men to an unlikely victory on penalties against Bayern Munich in the German giants' own back yard and their inaugural European trophy has been praised further with the honorary title.

The Blues were handed the award on Monday from their respective peers at the third annual ECA Awards at the Association's General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

12/1 Chelsea are 12/1 with Bet365 to win the Champions League in 2012-13
Di Matteo's side were disappointing in the league, finishing sixth and they would have been forced into the Europa League were it not for their penalty heroics against Bayern.

Nevertheless, the club were "recognised for their outstanding achievement during the 2011-12 season on a European and domestic level," according to a statement.

Chelsea are one of the teams that makes up the ECA, the independent body that replaced its predecessor - the G14 Group and the European Club Forum - when both were dissolved in 2008.

The first ECA awards were introduced in 2010, designed with the aim of "rewarding outstanding club performances, encouraging best practice and highlighting successful club management".

The award represents yet more good news for the Blues, whose double last season has been followed up by a perfect start to this season's Premier League campaign.

And, despite a disappointing 4-1 loss to last season's Europa League winners Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup, plenty of early-season optimism around the club will only be reinforced with this latest achievement.