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Branislav Ivanovic believes Chelsea can return to the top of European football if Roman Abramovich is allowed back to Stamford Bridge

Chelsea need Roman Abramovich back at Stamford Bridge to get back to the top, says ex-defender Branislav Ivanovic amid Russian visa row

  • Chelsea owner Abramovich locked in row with UK government over his visa
  • The Russian hasn’t been seen at Stamford Bridge in recent months
  • Former Blues defender Ivanovic believes Chelsea need Abramovich back
  • They have made an inconsistent start to the season under Frank Lampard¬†
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Chelsea will return to being one of Europe’s best teams if owner Roman Abramovich could return to Stamford Bridge, according to former defender Branislav Ivanovic.

The 35-year-old, currently playing in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg, won three Premier League titles, the Champions League and a host of other medals during his nine years with Chelsea.

Abramovich, once a regular fixture in the directors’ box at Stamford Bridge, has been locked in a visa row with the UK government in recent months and hasn’t been seen around the club.

Branislav Ivanovic believes Chelsea can return to the top of European football if Roman Abramovich is allowed back to Stamford Bridge

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Branislav Ivanovic believes Chelsea can return to the top of European football if Roman Abramovich is allowed back to Stamford Bridge

Abramovich, once a regular in the directors' box at Stamford Bridge, is in a row with the UK government over the renewal of his investors' visa

Abramovich, once a regular in the directors' box at Stamford Bridge, is in a row with the UK government over the renewal of his investors' visa

Abramovich, once a regular in the directors’ box at Stamford Bridge, is in a row with the UK government over the renewal of his investors’ visa

Chelsea are trying to find their way under new manager Frank Lampard and have had an inconsistent start to the season. But Ivanovic believes the return of Abramovich would galvanise the club.

‘This is a new Chelsea team,’ Ivanovic told FourFourTwo. ‘The club didn’t have the perfect season last year, but still finished third.

‘Chelsea need Roman Abramovich back. That’s the most important thing for all the fans.

‘We want to see him at Stamford Bridge, then Chelsea will be among the best teams in Europe once again.

Serbian defender Ivanovic now plays for the Russian club Zenit St Petersburg
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Serbian defender Ivanovic now plays for the Russian club Zenit St Petersburg

Serbian defender Ivanovic now plays for the Russian club Zenit St Petersburg

Ivanovic with the UEFA Europa League in 2012, one of many trophies he won at Chelsea

Ivanovic with the UEFA Europa League in 2012, one of many trophies he won at Chelsea

Ivanovic with the UEFA Europa League in 2012, one of many trophies he won at Chelsea

‘He’s been one of the most important people in my career and I appreciate everything he’s done for me. Whenever I had a difficult moment at Chelsea, he always believed in me. I owe him a lot.’

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Abramovich, 52, withdrew his application for a new UK investor visa in the summer of 2018 after it was refused or denied.

It led to Abramovich putting plans for Chelsea’s ¬£1billion redevelopment of Stamford Bridge on hold.