SPORTS : FROM WONDERKID TO CHINA AT 25 – OSCAR FAILED TO BECOME THE SUPERSTAR CHELSEA EXPECTED

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The Blues midfielder arrived in a blaze of
glory after his £25 million move, but never
quite made it and is now on his way to the
CSL

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Oscar has played his last game for
Chelsea after they accepted a staggering
bid of more than £50 million from Chinese
Super League club Shanghai SIPG, and
the 25-year-old’s exit leaves Blues fans
with the frustration of wondering what
could have been.
After buying him for £25 million from
Brazilian club Internacional,
Chelsea cashed in on a star who was once
so highly rated that they sold Kevin De
Bruyne and Juan Mata so that he could
flourish.
Mourinho reluctant to rotate
Since those sales, Oscar has struggled to
provide the regular world-class
performances that are required at a club
like Chelsea, while Eden Hazard has gone
from strength to strength as a Blues
player.
The Brazil international heads to China as
a player who most European clubs would
love to have, but who are not willing to
match the astronomic spending of clubs
like Shanghai SIPG.
Even £60 million would not make Chelsea
budge for the likes of Hazard or Diego
Costa. Oscar, however, had all the talent
to enter their level of importance to the
club, but was never quite consistent
enough, resulting in him making sacrifices
to help others shine.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, Jose
Mourinho demanded Oscar press, fight and
bulk up as he looked to add value to his
number 10, while Antonio Conte tried him
out as a box-to-box midfielder for the
opening few games of the season.
But that work-rate only meant he had
fewer opportunities to show his
creativity as Chelsea tried to fit Oscar in
with Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Willian.
Those changes moved him away from
what was his footballing identity, a
creative genius who can light up any game
on his day. Those talents were evident
even on his debut, and Chelsea fans had
been expecting a world-class player to
emerge ever since they saw the diminutive
attacker score a stunning brace past the
Italian champions, Juventus.
Oscar scored those two goals in front of
not only the Chelsea fans, but also Conte,
who was managing Juventus at the
time. All eyes were on Oscar, and great
things were expected – which might be part
of the reason that fans grew disappointed
at what came next.
He continued to shine in fits and starts,
while he also went on to win his club’s
goal of the year twice, but the type of
consistency needed to win a player of the
year award was far away. Those awards
never came to Oscar, but they did to
Hazard.
He will live forever on Chelsea goal
highlight reels with strikes against Crystal
Palace, Shakhtar Donetsk and a brace
versus Arsenal remaining as positive
memories for his fans.
However, he may remain burdened for not
performing as he did on his debut on a
more consistent basis. His occasional
match-winning performances bought
him time, but Chelsea have decided to
cash in and his time is now up.
Oscar’s sale has been greeted by some
with unfair ridicule, but to real fans and
those around the club he will remain a
respected figure.
His legacy includes Premier League titles
and European success, but also suffers
unfairly from the association with the sale
of De Bruyne to Wolfsburg and Mata to
Manchester United.
Conte took a proper look at Oscar at the
start of the season and used him as a box-
to-box midfielder for the opening four
games. He performed well, but found
himself out of the team after he was
dominated by an energetic Liverpool
midfield back in September.
Since that day, he had found it tough to
convince Conte and his manager’s move to
a 3-4-3 formation has done him no
favours – Fabregas, N’Golo Kante and
Nemanja Matic compete for two
spots. Hazard and Pedro have nailed down
starting spots behind Costa, which is a
role that Oscar could play, but Willian
deputises.
Oscar’s talent will be missed in Europe and
welcomed in China, but the move will leave
him with unfinished business in English
and European football with his peak years
still lying in front of him.

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Posted in Sports

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