Maradona hails Chelsea after Champions League success

The former Argentina international has congratulated Roberto Di Matteo and his west London outfit after they overcame the odds to win Europe's top club competition in 2011-12

Diego Maradona has praised Roberto Di Matteo and his Chelsea team after their Champions League success.

The west London side overcame the odds to beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on penalties in the decider of Europe’s top club competition.

The legendary former Argentina international has hailed the Italian coach’s impact since taking over from Andre Villas Boas, and feels the underdog winning the crown is what makes football unique.

“The unpredictability of football makes it the world's greatest sport,” Maradona told Times of India.

“Who could possibly have imagined that an interim coach, Roberto Di Matteo, who inherited an overage divided group of Chelsea players only a few months ago, would be lifting the Champions League trophy, defeating the heavily-favoured Bayern Munich squad playing at home?

“Who would have thought that 34-year-old Didier Drogba, benched by coach Andre Villas-Boas, would be the hero of the Champions League final, scoring the tying goal and then the final penalty kick to make all the dreams of rich owner Roman Abramovich come true?

“Tactics, humility and intelligence played a major role. Inheriting a divided and defeated team, Di Matteo first had to restore harmony in his dressing room.

“Above all, he instilled in his team a warrior spirit and character, getting the most out of his players by making the forwards defend and the midfielders attack.

“Chelsea were not the most talented team in the Champions League but they were certainly the team that wanted to win the most. Hats off to this group of veteran warriors,” he concluded.