Chelsea have beefed up their old boys network once again by confirming new coaching roles for former players Claude Makelele and Carlo Cudicini.
Former France midfielder Makelele has returned to Stamford Bridge as a technical mentor to young players, with Cudicini stepping into a new role as loan player technical coach.
Makelele is back at Chelsea for the first time in 11 years, having had coaching roles at Paris St Germain, Bastia, Swansea and Belgium’s Eupen since his 2011 playing retirement.
Cudicini formed part of both Antonio Conte’s and Maurizio Sarri’s backroom staff, but while he has not been retained in Frank Lampard‘s first-team set-up, the ex-Blues goalkeeper will remain at the west London club.
“I am very happy to come back home; this club gave me a lot and now I want to give back and help the young Chelsea players dreaming of a career in football,” said Makelele, who made 217 Blues appearances and won two league titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups.
“I want to use all my experience to help them become professionals in every aspect and I am looking forward to getting started.”
Chelsea’s two-window transfer ban has new boss Lampard ready to hand a clutch of talented youth stars an extended first-team run this term.
Midfielder Mason Mount, having impressed on loan under the Blues’ record goalscorer at Derby last term, and striker Tammy Abraham, who spent last season at Aston Villa, are back at Stamford Bridge.
Young England forward Callum Hudson-Odoi is primed for an influential role once fit again after Achilles surgery.
Petr Cech has returned to Stamford Bridge as a technical advisor to bridge the gap between the coaches and the board, while another ex-Blues player Jody Morris is Lampard’s assistant manager.
And so with Makelele and Cudicini confirmed in new roles, the old boys reunion keeps on growing.
New boss Lampard is determined that Chelsea reap the rewards of such a potent legacy, and that growing nucleus of decorated former players will doubtless strengthen the Stamford Bridge culture.
Cudicini has stepped down from a first-team role, trading places with former player Eddie Newton in the process.
The Italian stopper made 216 appearances between 1999 and 2009 at Chelsea, then returned to Stamford Bridge in 2015, first as an ambassador then as a coach.
“I’m really looking forward to this new challenge in my coaching career,” said Cudicini.
“The loan programme is an important part of our development pathway for young players at the club and this is an exciting opportunity to work with the next generation of talented players.”
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia hailed the new roles for both the highly-regarded former Blues stars.
“We are very pleased to welcome Claude back to Chelsea, where he made such an impact during five excellent years as a player,” said Granovskaia.
“His long and successful career on the field, added to his winning mentality and experience as a coach in recent years, make him the ideal person to pass on his expertise to our talented youngsters.
“He will be a valuable asset to both our Academy and first-team coaching staff.
“We are also delighted Carlo has agreed to take over from Eddie Newton in this key role in our development programme.
“Carlo has years of experience from a playing career spanning Italian, English and US football, and has followed that by making a successful transition into coaching.
“His knowledge of the game and mentoring will be an important asset in the continued development of our young players.”
Former Chelsea reserves goalkeeper James Russell has also become assistant men’s goalkeeping coach, working alongside Hilario.