Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah has explained how team-mate Thiago Silva was an inspiration for him growing up, while he also reflected on the time he rubbed shoulders with Lionel Messi as a ball-boy.
The defender is now a prominent member of the Blues' first-team squad after taking his chance to impress Thomas Tuchel in pre-season, and has subsequently won the Super Cup and Club World Cup, making 21 competitive appearances in total.
Ahead of Sunday's Carabao Cup final meeting with Liverpool, the 22-year-old centre-back reflected on how his life has changed over the past year or so.
Chalobah's meeting with Lionel Messi as a ball-boy
During Chelsea's run to winning the Champions League in 2012, the Blues beat Barcelona in the semi-final and Chalobah and Mason Mount were both ball-boys in the 1-0 first-leg win.
Just 12 years old at the time, Chalobah recalls throwing the ball to arguably football's greatest ever player and dreaming of entering the pitch.
"Us grabbing the ball and throwing it to the players felt massive," he told GOAL. "Every chance we had to be ball-boy, we'd take it.
"I remember in that game as well, I was next to Mason. I think it was me that threw the ball to Messi and I thought 'wow, I used to watch him on TV, we’re watching him live now'. That was my first time [seeing Messi live]."
Now the boyhood Chelsea supporter is living his dream after loan spells at Ipswich, Huddersfield and Lorient.
Chalobah was an unused substitute the last time Chelsea won the FA Cup, back in 2018, and the Cobham academy graduate wants to go one better and get on the pitch against Liverpool in Sunday's Carabao Cup showpiece at Wembley.
"I remember the day before [the final], leading up to training, Andreas [Christensen] got injured and they told me I'd be travelling with the squad," he recalled.
"Here's me thinking I would be travelling with the squad and watching the game in the stands – I was happy with that, over the moon to be travelling – but I got into the changing room and I saw my name on the bench. I was about to cry.
"I called my dad, told my family that I'm on the bench, and they were over the moon as they were already coming to the game as well. It was unbelievable, a mad experience.
"I just remember thinking 'this is what it feels like to win a trophy'. It's massive for the club and this is how it feels.
"This time last year, I was at Lorient on loan, I never thought back then that I would potentially win my third trophy this season already.
"I am still pinching myself to this day. Every game and every training session is just a proud moment to be in this team."
What has Chalobah said about Thiago Silva & fame?
Chalobah added: "When I came to Chelsea I was a striker at eight or nine years old. But then I got moved to centre-back and I always used to look at Thiago Silva as one of the top centre-backs to watch on YouTube.
"I wanted to implement elements of him into my game. Now to share a pitch with him is unreal. I've told him that I used to watch videos of him all the time and he says to keep going. I hope to get to this level."
The defender added on his new-found fame: "When I'm going down the shops or whatever, I get stopped all the time. My life has changed.
"It is a nice feeling but at the same time, it just shows the work I’m doing is good and I just need to keep my head down and keep going. I know there is more to do and this is just the start.
"At the start, after [scoring against] Palace, I would go to the shops and I wasn't thinking there was going to be any [attention] but it took me an hour to get back home, I remember.
"I just went shopping or whatever and people were asking for photos. I got home and I was thinking ‘wow, this is what these players at big clubs are going through when they go out’.
"I’ve been out with Mason [Mount] and it's triple the times that people stop him. He’s obviously been at the club longer but he did say it is going to be like that."