'They kept signing unbelievable players' - Abramovich's first signing Macho on the early days of the Chelsea revolution

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Jurgen Macho had spent his first summer holiday as a Chelsea player readying himself for a battle with Carlo Cudicini for the number one shirt but misfortune took that dream away. 

Roman Abramovich spent £121.3 million (£138m/$149m) during his first transfer window as the club's new owner back in 2003 - on the likes of Claude Makelele, Damien Duff, Joe Cole and Hernan Crespo - but the first name through the door at Cobham was Macho, a free transfer signing from Sunderland. He tore his cruciate ligament in his first week.

Abramovich went and signed Petr Cech to work under Jose Mourinho the following summer and the Blues never looked back. Macho was heartbroken at the time after being denied his chance to play for one of world football's coming forces.

"Sunderland let me go and Chelsea came in and it was an honour that such a big club came in to sign me," Macho tells Goal. "Everything went so fast because I knew I had to try to take this big opportunity.

"I knew I had to do something big to make it at Chelsea. I had a pre-season before the actual pre-season which started in my holidays. I thought I have to work hard to be 100 per cent right to get a shot to play. I knew the fight for places against Carlo Cudicini was big.

"At the start, I was really happy there. I had so much power and energy. After a week, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament and it was heartbreaking. It was an awful feeling. I had invested so much and I couldn’t show what I could do. I knew after that it would be very tough to get back in."

Chelsea shook up the established order when Abramovich took over, finishing second in the Premier League to Arsenal and knocking Arsene Wenger's Invincibles out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage under Claudio Ranieri.

While the Italian would one day go on and win the domestic title with Leicester City, he would be replaced by Porto's outgoing Champions League-winning manager Jose Mourinho.

It was a sign of Chelsea's new ambitions, which began immediately with the signing of those established internationals in the summer of 2003, an extensive list which also included Geremi from Real Madrid and Juan Sebastian Veron from Manchester United.

"They kept signing unbelievable players at that time and you would feel each one changing the dressing room. You would see Roman Abramovich around at all the games and he gave a lot to the club. I was trying to get back after such a long period out.

"It was a hard time for me. It was a great disappointment but that’s part of football. I never would complain about this because injuries are part of the game. You can be lucky to avoid them but it happens. Everyone at Chelsea treated me with so much respect even if they were ready to let me go.

"That includes all the players, coaches and medical staff. I felt like part of the club even if I never played there. I feel like I earned to be signed by Chelsea and I was proud to be part of it. I was also honest that there were superstars.

"Petr Cech signed in pre-season when Jose Mourinho came in. We worked a few times together and he was a fantastic sportsman, helpful and a good guy.

"He became an incredible goalkeeper and proved it in his career; even then, you could see how much he had to offer. I was unlucky; it made it difficult for me and another reason that I had to move on."

Jurgen Macho GFX

Now a goalkeeping coach with Rapid Vienna, with whom he won an Austrian Bundesliga title the season after leaving Stamford Bridge, Macho makes a living from analysing and improving goalkeepers.

He watches Chelsea from afar and he can see a bit of himself in Kepa Arrizabalaga amid a troubling season for the £71 million (€80m/$87m) signing from Athletic Club.

"It is not right to speak about why Kepa made his mistakes," Macho added. "The thing is that he cost a lot of money so some people think he must save everything and be at the top. Every goalkeeper has bad spells.

"When you have a bad spell, it is about how you pick yourself up. After that you have to work hard again and maybe start again to put yourself back to the level that you think you can give to your club. It is unfair to pick out individual mistakes.

"As a goalkeeper, I know that you can have spells where you try everything and it doesn’t work out. You need to keep up that fight; then you get that chance again. He did that and took his chance and it gives you a good feeling.

Jurgen Macho GFX

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"I think the competition being high with Willy Caballero is good and it can make you better. I am sure he will aim to keep fighting. There’s only one spot for a goalkeeper and you fight for that."

Having missed out on his dream to make it at Chelsea, Macho would be open to the idea of returning to the Premier League in the future as a coach. Still, he is content working at his boyhood club that are pushing for the Austrian league title once again after RB Salzburg came to dominate the league.

"I am the similarly ambitious as a coach as I was a player," Macho continued. "Maybe one day I would like to work in the Premier League to work at the highest level of football but at the moment I am very happy at Rapid."