I'm the ex-Chelsea star who gave Enzo Fernandez his start in football… I cried when he scored at the World Cup | The Sun

ENZO FERNANDEZ took to the field for the first time in a Chelsea shirt last night and already looked like he had a point to prove.

The Premier League's record signing was the star of the show, despite his side only managing a 0-0 draw at home to Fulham.

However, the Blues may never have chosen to splash out £107m for the midfielder if it wasn't for the work one of their former players put in.

Back in 2020, Fernandez had made just one start for River Plate and the decision was made to send him out on loan.

A small club from the outskirts of Buenos Aires called Defensa y Justicia would win the race for the future World Cup winner, thanks to a former River legend.

Defensa y Justicia play in a stadium that holds just ten thousand and had never even been in Argentina's top flight until 2014.


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But the arrival of Hernan Crespo as coach would give them a pull they'd never had before and lead the club to unprecedented success.

Against all odds, the team would win the Copa Sudamericana – South America's version of the Europa League – with Fernandez at the heart of things.

They then also beat Brazilian giants Palmeiras in the Recopa – the Super Cup – with Fernandez scoring the decisive penalty in a shootout.

That loan would provide the platform for the midfielder to excel at River Plate before a meteoric rise which saw him join Benfica, win the World Cup and secure a Premier League record move to Chelsea in just six months.

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When the Argentina star announced himself on the global stage with a wondergoal against Mexico, it was fitting that none other than Crespo would be watching in the ESPN studio.

When asked about his emotions watching Fernandez score his first national team goal, the former striker teared up.

Crespo said: "[I'm emotional] Because I know Enzo. There are things that mark you and justify the work I do today.

"To give 0.1 per cent of what is happening, because the rest is all his… everything. Everything that we were sharing."

Asked about an interview with Enzo's father following the goal, Crespo said: "The dad makes me emotional. Enzo makes me emotional. Because I know the work of a lot of them.

"It's nice, you can see [what can happen] from humility, from work, from seriousness.

"He had to make a great comeback, because it's not easy to leave the River juniors and say; 'Well, it doesn't matter, I'll go to Defensa [y Justicia] and try to earn a place at Defensa.'

"Because he hasn't been given anything, but always [he earned it], with force, always serious, always educated.

"Today, at the very least, one lives from the reflection of his players.

"And when these beautiful things happen, and especially when it has to do with the Argentine team, it's emotional. Emotional."

Crespo was one of Roman Abramovich's first Chelsea signings with the Blues and had a mixed period in West London.

The Argentine notched a respectable 25 goals in 73 games, including a famous last minute opening day winner at Wigan.

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However, he was always thought of as more suited to Italian football, and went on loan to both AC Milan and Inter during his five-year Chelsea career.

After signing an eight-year contract with the Blues, £107-million man Enzo Fernandez will hope to easily surpass his mentor.

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