The Chelsea cult icon who ruined Arsenal’s Champions League hopes

Chelsea and Arsenal fans generally aren’t the best of friends.

But one player arrived at Stamford Bridge as a hero among Chelsea fans, before he’d even pulled on the blue shirt.

Juliano Belletti famously shattered Arsenal’s hopes of lifting the Champions League trophy back in 2006, when he netted a dramatic late winner to crown Barcelona as champions.

Scroll down to see Belletti destroy Arsenal…

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After Jens Lehmann was sent off just shy of the 20-minute mark, Arsene Wenger’s side were always fighting an uphill battle. But they scored first, with Sol Campbell heading home on 37 minutes.

But Barcelona equalised with 15 minutes to play through eventual man of the match Samuel Eto’o and Arsenal looked absolutely knackered.

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On 80 minutes Belletti slid the ball out wide to Henrik Larsson. With Arsenal’s defence caught flat-footed, Belletti sprinted into the box and Sweden’s legendary goalscorer slid the ball into his path. Manuel Almunia closed the angle, but Belletti drilled the ball off the inside of his right leg and into the roof of the net.

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Cue tears from Belletti and a Champions League win for Barca.

The following summer, Belletti rocked up at Chelsea in the twilight of his career. And despite earning a decent amount of playing time in his opening season, the arrival of Jose Bosingwa saw him relinquish the right-back position.

He was deployed as a utility player in the following two seasons at Chelsea, and won the hearts of Blues fans for his dogged performances and hammer of a right foot.

Just check out this beaut against Middlesbrough:

He would leave Chelsea in 2010 for Fluminense, with a Premier League trophy, two FA Cups and a Community Shield. Not bad for three years’ work.

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