‘Werner’s support shows Chelsea’s team spirit’ – Geremi sees same mentality as Mourinho title winners
The Cameroonian takes great encouragement from the way Thomas Tuchel’s players rally around their struggling German striker.
Like many former Chelsea players, Geremi is watching from afar, enjoying the journey of those who are pushing the club forward again through their incredible Champions League run.
Chelsea now feel like an established power in Europe but, in 2003, when new owner Roman Abramovich made his second signing at Geremi, they were the disruptors of European football.
The legendary Cameroonian midfielder quickly repaid the Russian’s confidence in him by playing his part in two Premier League title wins.
In 2021, Abramovich started spending big in the transfer market again and Geremi believes there are clear signs that manager Thomas Tuchel is able to turn this massive investment into trophies, just like Jose Mourinho did to his time.
“They remind me of what I lived”, says Geremi Goal . “I saw the reaction in the last game against Leicester (a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night). Timo Werner doesn’t score or is often offside, but when he has scored before it’s ruled out, look how the other boys reacted, they all went to see him to share this moment.
“These reactions send a message to Werner that he can get out of this predicament. I understand that, and when I saw that moment, I was like, ‘That’s a good attitude. “They all care about his situation and will help him get out of it.
“He’s still young, he fights, defends well and has the guys with him. He shouldn’t be too worried. It reminds me of the atmosphere we had back then at Chelsea.”
By the time he arrived at Stamford Bridge, Geremi was already a world star who had won two Champions League titles, La Liga and an Olympic gold medal.
“When I met Abramovich, I was surprised,” he explains. “He was a young man who loved football. He looked at us like stars, but we admired him as bosses.
“After every win he was there to smash us up. I admired the guy’s simplicity.”
Geremi has had a truly remarkable career. He learned the game playing street football before being taken over by local club Racing Bafoussam, but ended up moving to South America after an incredible turn of events.
“I was called up for a friendly match in Brazil,” he explains. “I played well and went back to Cameroon. However, some Brazilian teams wanted to sign me. At that point, the ability to reach people was difficult. But there was a player on our team called Alphonse. Tchami, who played at Boca Juniors in Argentina.
“An agent contacted him because he was from my area and he helped them contact me. I always thank Alphonse for that because he sent his cousin to my city to find me and contact me. ‘gave a message saying they are trying to join me to join a club in Brazil.
“I didn’t even have a phone, so I had to give him my friend’s number in another house. We didn’t have an appointment for him to call me at the time, so I waited on the phone everyday and it took a week to get the call! When we got the call it took us an hour to understand each other because the signal was so bad.
“I’m moved to think about it. I was supposed to join a team in Brazil but, by the time I finished the paperwork and arrived in Brazil, the transfer window was closed. The trip took longer than that. expected, almost three days out of a number I missed the agent because it took so long.
“So I’m in Rio de Janeiro with no phone and no money. I had no way to contact the agent and I was stuck at the airport. I slept there for two days. To get food, I kind of got a job with trolleys for an old man at the airport.
“I was doing his job and he was feeding me. We communicated by hand gestures because I didn’t speak Portuguese. I didn’t take a shower for days and had to constantly keep an eye on my agent.
“Finally he arrived and it was a relief. He managed to get a trial in Paraguay at Cerro Porteno.”
Geremi was signed by the Paraguayan team but was stopped a year later by Turkish side Genclerbirligi. He excelled in the Super Lig and when former Besiktas boss John Toshack took over Real Madrid, Geremi suddenly found himself in the spotlight at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“In Rio de Janeiro, nobody was waiting for me, but in Madrid, it was great, they were all waiting for me,” says Geremi. “I felt as soon as I arrived at the airport that it was another level.
“The cameras were flashing and shooting at me. Luckily I was with my agent or I would have run away! I was in shock. Everywhere we went we had 30 media, photographers and news cameras. I thought to myself. : ‘How do they know our movements?’ “
Now retired, Geremi currently heads the Cameroonian and African footballers unions, while also working as vice-president of the FIFPro global players union.
“I want to develop and improve football in Africa,” he said. “People love football and it concerns me why our politicians don’t see its importance. Football has made me who I am now.
“There is a need for improvements. In Europe it is well organized and offers social and economic benefits.”