Roman Abramovich will not attend Chelsea’s Champions League tie against Juventus at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night despite travelling to London and making a rare visit to the stadium on Sunday.
Chelsea’s owner, who has not been seen at a home game for more than three years, hosted Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog, at a small event. It was the first time Abramovich, who has not used the trip to meet Thomas Tuchel, has been at the club’s stadium since a delay over his application for a new UK visa led to him withdrawing it in 2018.
The Russian billionaire travelled to London as an Israeli citizen and hosted Herzog as part of Chelsea’s ‘Say No To Antisemitism’ initiative. Abramovich also visited the Imperial War Museum to see the Holocaust Galleries he helped fund with donations.
However, Abramovich’s schedule did not include space to watch the key match in Group H. A spokesperson for him said: “He has a previous commitment elsewhere to a charity which he supports.”
Abramovich was present when Chelsea travelled to Porto to beat Manchester City in last season’s Champions League final. He met Tuchel on the morning after the game and spoke to Chelsea’s head coach about transfers and the club’s plans for this campaign.
Tuchel praised Abramovich before his team’s game against Juventus, who lead Chelsea by three points at the top of their group. “He is a football fan,” the German said.
“He’s in love with the game and in love with the details. He wants to know everything about it, about what is going on here in Cobham. We keep him posted because he has this genuine interest and genuine love for the game.
“This is the most important thing and makes things very special. He wants to be entertained. He wants to be competitive. He wants to have the right attitude on the pitch. This is what he created here and it is amazing.”
Chelsea will be out for revenge after losing 1-0 to Juventus in Turin two months ago. The European champions will qualify for the last 16 with a game to spare if they avoid defeat against Massimiliano Allegri’s team, who have already reached the knockout phase.
Tuchel said Romelu Lukaku could be on the bench after recovering from an ankle injury, but Kai Havertz is a doubt with a hamstring problem and Mateo Kovacic is still out. Jorginho, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic are all available.