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Malouda, Florent

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Florent Malouda

Written by Loz and last updated August 2009

[[fimg]=left]http://www.theshedend.com/fansite/images/Current_Squad/Florent_Malouda/malouda%20guingamp.jpg[/[fimg]] At the time of first writing this profile Malouda had been a Chelsea player for as long as Jamie Carragher has been a bottle merchant. Consequently this profile will initially, in true ‘Carry On’ style, be a quickie to provide a little introduction to our new left winger. He was born on June 13th, 1980 in Cayenne, which is the capital of the French overseas region of French Guiana (Cyrille Regis was also from French Guiana, that one is for the useless trivia buffs out there!). As a nipper he played most of his football on the streets of Cayenne. Somehow or other, the facts escape me, he was spotted by Paris based Chateauroux and moved to them whilst still in his early teens.

[[fimg]=right]http://www.theshedend.com/fansite/images/Current_Squad/Florent_Malouda/malouda%20for%20france%20with%20zz.jpg[/[fimg]] Chateauroux were in the French second division when Malouda made his debut at the age of 16. He went on to play 57 times for them before being snapped up by Guingamp where he formed a soon to be re-established partnership with Didier Drogba. 92 games and 15 goals later Malouda had done enough to catch the eye of France’s dominant side Lyon. At Lyon he played in a midfield that consisted of Juninho, the Diarra (the other one) and Michael Essien, another player who he will soon be re-acquainted with. He starred on the left hand side for Lyon and this led to an almost inevitable call up to the French national team.

[[fimg]=left]http://www.theshedend.com/fansite/images/Current_Squad/Florent_Malouda/malouda%20and%20gattuson%20in%20cl%20game%20march%2029%202006.jpg[/[fimg]] His best season for Lyon came in 2006/07 as he helped Lyon win their sixth consecutive Ligue 1 crown (well it isn’t that hard, 98% of the nation would rather throw metal balls around a town square) and, in doing so, winning the Ligue 1 Player of the Year.

Unsurprisingly his form had caught the eye of many top clubs around Europe, Liverpool were also interested. Chelsea made their interest clear and Malouda made all the right noises about wanting to join the Blues (apparently Drogba was instrumental in persuading him, could have also been Drogba’s bank balance that persuaded him!).

[[fimg]=right]http://www.theshedend.com/fansite/images/Current_Squad/Florent_Malouda/malouda%20and%20jose.jpg[/[fimg]] On July 10th, 2007 a deal was struck with Lyon, rumoured to be approximately £13.5m, and Malouda met up with the Chelsea squad on their pre-season tour of the US. Malouda kicked off his Chelsea career in fine style. He scored on his competitive debut against Man Utd in the Community Shield and on his league debut against Birmingham and won the 'penalty' against Liverpool at Anfield.

[[fimg]=left]http://www.theshedend.com/fansite/images/Current_Squad/Florent_Malouda/malouda%20vs%20pompey.jpg[/[fimg]] Although maybe lacking in the skill on the ball of Joe Cole and Arjen Robben and definitely doesn't have the pace of Robben he appears to be far stronger than Robben as shown in the Community Shield when he held off the attentions of Rio Ferdinand to slot home Chelsea's equaliser. Malouda settled into the Chelsea team quickly and scored in his Premiership debut, a 3-2 win against Birmingham at the Bridge. He was then involved in controversy at Anfield when we equalised through a penalty awarded when Malouda collided with Steve Finnan. Even the bluest specs couldn't see a foul being committed however there really is no need to have any sympathy for the opposition as the fall out from that decision meant that Liverpool were to be awarded a ridiculous number of poor decisions in their favour for months afterwards. Malouda got on the score sheet again in a 2-0 victory against Schalke 04 in the Champions League on October 24th.

Not long after that Malouda's season came to a rather abrupt pause! He came off the bench in a nail biting 4-3 win over Leicester in the Carling Cup and was largely ineffective in the league game against Wigan and totally ineffective in our all round atrocious performance against Schalke 04 in the Champions League in November (lady luck did not just shine on us that night, she gave us a shine and wax finish and allowed us to spit roast her in the showers afterwards). Malouda then picked up a knee injury which kept him out for the best part of two months. He was due to return to the squad for the late December game against Newcastle but suffered a recurrence of the knee injury in training and the current prognosis in terms of how long he will be out for is somewhat woolly! The tittle tattle is that the real reason for his absence is down to 'his head not being right' however the official line is that it is the knee injury.

Malouda made a surprise come back in the 2-1 Carling Cup Semi Final 1st leg win over Everton at Stamford Bridge. Although it was far from his best performance in a Chelsea shirt, in fact he was pretty ineffective for large parts of the game (although he did get the assist for Chelsea's opener) a lot of this could probably be put down to lack of match fitness and with Chelsea's various African contingent heading off to the ACN it was encouraging to get him playing again.

[[fimg]=right]http://www.theshedend.com/fansite/images/Current_Squad/Florent_Malouda_2/malouda%20bolton.gif[/[fimg]] Encouraging it may have been but what transpired was nothing short of embarrassing. When Malouda did play his level of performance, and effort, left most Chelsea fans yearning for the return of Bolo Zenden (and that my friends is an insult of great proportion). It was round about March that I started to wonder if Mourinho had gone into the new season knowing full well he would out of a job in no time and thus he got his revenge in first by spending £13.5m of Roman's money on a Sunday league winger.

It is safe to say that France must be as effective at producing left wingers as England are at producing... err...wingers full stop as Malouda managed to be selected in the French squad for Euro 2008. You know how some players are sh*te for their club but turn it on for their country?

Well this isn't the case with Malouda! France were pretty appalling during Euro 2008 with none of their team more so than Malouda (apart from maybe Anelka!) It was horrifying to see the typically injury prone Arjen Robben making token appearances but do more in 45 minutes than Malouda has done in an entire season. As we approached the start of the 2008/09 season there were rumours in the papers that Roma were interested in signing him. We were hopeful.

[[fimg]=left]http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll244/loz1905/Malouda1.gif[/[fimg]] A transfer didn't transpire and Malouda started the 2008/09 season on the bench. There were then rumours that Newcastle were preparing a bid for him. By the time the transfer window shut at midnight on September 1st he was still a Chelsea player, I can only imagine Newcastle had witnessed his woeful performances off the bench in the opening three games of the season and realised it would have been a mistake of Harry Kewell proportion. His form carried on to be generally disappointing although he was slightly above average against Bordeaux in the Champions League and managed to get on the score sheet in the stroll against Pompey in the third round of the Carling Cup. Then something happened that had Chelsea fans reaching for their celebratory onion necklaces. Malouda actually hit a bit of form. I say ‘a bit’ because it wasn’t dazzling stuff but it was above average (though not consistently) and above average was not something we had come to expect!

He continued this form as far as the Boro game in the Premiership (which we won 5-0) but in the back of mind something, other than lice, niggled away and it was the fact I had never see him play well when the team didn’t. Against Roma in the Champions League in the following fixture we won but didn’t play well, was this when Malouda would prove he could deliver when those around him didn’t? Actually no it wasn’t, he was poor again. He then saw that ‘poor’ and raised it to ‘appalling’ against Liverpool as Chelsea lost their 86 match unbeaten home record at the hands of the dippers.

[[fimg]=right]http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll244/loz1905/Malouda2.gif[/[fimg]] However it was against the dippers that Malouda was to put in a shift which had us all checking the contents of the sleeping pills we had been taken all the week to deal with the nerves of the match build up. Against the Satan’s XI in the away leg of the Champions League quarter final Malouda didn’t only set up two of the goals with crosses he also put in an all round top quality performance. Scousers wrote to their MP they were so disgusted.

This seemed to kick start a run of form which made people think there might still be hope for the lad. He scored against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi final and added another goal against the Gooners when we spanked them 4-1 in the league. He also had a penalty claim turned down against Barcelona in the champions league semi final tie at the Bridge – I would name the other Chelsea players who also had legitimate penalties turned down in that game but there is only so much server space available to me.

Other than the crime committed against us in the Champions League the good times just kept coming for Malouda when he scored against Blackburn in the league and then set up Didier Drogba’s winning goal in the 2009 FA Cup final against Everton.

[[fimg]=left]http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll244/loz1905/Malouda3.gif[/[fimg]] His end of season form attracted some interest and there was talk of a transfer in the summer of 2009 however Malouda put an end to the gossip by signing a new 4 year contract in June 2009. Opinion was split on this. Some fans thought it would have been daft to sell him now that he was showing some form whereas others thought he had shown too little too late and we would be best to sell whilst his temporary form might have bumped up his price tag.

The start of the 2009/10 season saw Malouda employed on the left hand side of Ancelotti’s diamond however mixed form saw him dropped to the bench as Ballack and Deco re-established themselves as first team players with performances far above and beyond what they had delivered to date in a Chelsea shirt.

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