12 Feb 2015

No matter which club you support in the English Premier League, there are some players whom you have to like. You just have to because they are such nice lads. Branislav Ivanovic is one of them.

You would very rarely see the Serbia International taking a swipe at some rival player or making a controversial statement about anyone.

He remains away from all that. He very quietly does his job for Chelsea. He doesn’t get praised often enough. He is a defender and defending can be a thankless job sometimes. You get noticed only when you have a bad day.

But, the role played by these defenders cannot be downplayed, certainly not of somebody like Ivanovic. Ivanovic has been the unsung hero of many Chelsea wins since becoming a part of the Blues outfit.

He has never been much hyped and that’s understandable as Chelsea have had outrageously talented attacking players who get more of the attention from the media as well as the fans - even if he is normally near the top of the list of potential first-goalscorers on football betting websites.

But, what Ivanovic has done or rather has been doing for Chelsea is equally as big as the contribution made by their attackers. More than the talent, what makes you stand apart as a sportsperson is your grit and Ivanovic showed what a gritty, little character he is when he got on with his job in the Cup fixture versus Liverpool a few days ago despite bleeding inside his shoes. It’s after the game that everyone in the Chelsea camp got to know about the condition of his foot.

It was such a courageous effort from Ivanovic and it led the Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho describing him as an ‘ultimate fighter’.

Ivanovic has played more than 200 league games for Chelsea and has scored 19 goals.