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Born on the 9th August 1988 and christened Willian Borges da Silva, Willian as he is affectionately known to the footballing world, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a winger or as an attacking midfielder for the reigning English Premier League Champions Chelsea and the Brazil national team.
Willian started his footballing career as a Corinthians player in his home country before joining Shakhtar Donetsk in August 2007 for a fee of €14 million.
In his six years at Shakhtar, Willian won honours including five Ukrainian Premier League titles and the UEFA Cup in 2009.
In 2013, he briefly signed for Russian rich club Anzhi Makhachkala before joining Chelsea for £30 million, winning the Premier League and League Cup in his second season in England.
In fact, several Chelsea managers had tried to sign Willian from Shaktar with no luck.
Willian unique style of play is the main reason why Chelsea football club kept pursuing him.
A fast, agile, hard-working and technically gifted player with an eye for goal, Willian is known for his quick feet, acceleration and explosive style of play, which allows him to easily dribble past opponents at speed whilst keeping close control of the ball.
In typical Brazilian style, he has also been known to pull off feints and tricks, such as the elastico trick, in order to confuse and beat defenders. Those of us who have had the pleasure to watch him blossom at Chelsea can bear testimony to the fact that when Willian makes those roving runs with the ball glued to his feet, he is second to none.
Willian performs his wizardry either as a winger or as an attacking midfielder and his high stamina, vision and creativity enables him to link-up play between the deeper midfielders and the forwards, and create goal-scoring chances.
Quite an asset he is, just like good ole’ Betulator.
Coming to Chelsea he was not known much for his goal scoring prowess.
However, during the 2015–16 season, while at Chelsea, he showed his pedigree at direct free kicks with almost all his goals coming from set pieces.
In his third season with Chelsea, with the usually effective Eden Hazard not scoring many goals, Willian raised the bar and improved the statistics of his attacking game, which led many to call him Chelsea’s top performer of the season.
There were no voices of dissent when on the 13th of May 2016, Willian was named Chelsea’s Fans’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year for the 2015-16 season.
In the 2016-17 season Willian continued to perform admirably although he faced stiff competition from another speedy and offensive winger Pedro.
The debate still rages on as to who between the two should be an automatic choice in Antonio Conte’s first 11 but for this writer Willian should always be there.
His work rate, commitment to the cause and his industry would make any football coach proud.
I firmly believe that he perfected the art of taking free kicks on his own as well, which shows how much he values self-improvement.
With the 2017-18 season still in its infancy with only 3 games played, Willian has shown how much he wants to be a regular in the star studded Chelsea team with man of the match performances already, notably against Everton in our last Premiership game.
We hardly realized the absence of Eden Hazard and the injured Pedro, thanks to Willian’s brilliance.
Hungry for success
If this is not evidence enough then his stunning goal against Colombia, on the 5th of September 2017, while turning out for the Brazilian national team during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers bears adequate testimony to a player hungry for success on the football pitch.
In any case, the capacity to make it into the Brazil national team confirms how talented this player is. We wait to see how Antonio Conte will set up his team with Hazard and Pedro back in the fold as we face Leicester away over the weekend.
Positive headache for the gaffer!
Written by Spencer Joubert
Follow Spencer on Twitter @SpencerJoubert
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