Boy from Brazil emerges as new Blues hero
The final dramatic chapter of Didier Drogba's Chelsea story made him an act that was almost impossible to follow.
But a boy from Brazil called Oscar has stepped into his shoes to write the next compelling scenes.
Drogba's last kick for Chelsea was the penalty that won the Champions League against Bayern Munich in their own Allianz Arena in May. When he stripped off his blue number 11 shirt in celebration, it was for good.
It is a sign of Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo's confidence in his 21-year-old summer signing from Internacional that he handed Oscar both Drogba's shirt and the responsibility of being their Champions League inspiration.
Oscar's two-goal debut against Juventus rewarded Di Matteo's faith in him. Photo: Getty
The £25m purchase has virtually slipped in under Stamford Bridge's radar this season because of a combination of time away with Brazil and the instant, overshadowing impact of another expensive acquisition, Eden Hazard.
Di Matteo, with the sureness of touch that has marked so many of his decisions in Europe, decided the opening group game of their Champions League defence against Juventus was the ideal time to let this gifted young South American make his first full start.
And if wearing the shirt the talismanic Drogba left behind carried any sort of burden, it was one Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior carried lightly as he illuminated a highly-entertaining 2-2 draw with the sort of individual brilliance that hints at a golden future.
While Hazard walked along the margins of the game - except when he was denied what looked to be a penalty as he was pushed by Andrea Barzagli in the second half - and Fernando Torres had another of those frustratingly fruitless nights, Oscar flourished.
In close proximity to this wiry youngster was England's Euro 2012 nemesis Andrea Pirlo, now sporting a beard that gives him a piratical appearance and central to Juventus's renewal in Europe, but the boy who has already been granted the honour of wearing Brazil's number 10 shirt lost nothing in comparison.
When he signed for Chelsea, Oscar described himself as "an elegant type of ball-player". Definitive judgement at this early stage must be reserved but he looked all that and more.
After some early bedding in, Oscar grew into the game and announced himself with a deflected goal to give Chelsea the lead after 31 minutes. It was a strike that showed confidence, but it was his second two minutes later that pointed at the possibilities to come.
He took Ashley Cole's pass and evaded the attentions of Pirlo before looking up and curling a sumptuous 25-yard drive that rendered the great Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon helpless.
Stamford Bridge rose in acclaim and the boyish figure was swamped by elated team-mates. The noise that swept around the stadium was the sound of someone special being announced.
It was a goal that had Brazil stamped right through it. Instinctive, artistic and worthy of decorating a game that saw Chelsea parade the famous old trophy before kick-off just to emphasise, as if it were needed, their new status as European champions.
It is to Juventus's eternal credit that the "Old Lady" of Italian football stirred herself to take a point with a goal from Arturo Vidal before half-time and a late equaliser from substitute Fabio Quagliarella.
From a Chelsea perspective, however, the main stage was occupied by Oscar and his starring role.
And for all his avowed elegance there is a steel within that slender frame, as evidenced in a few seconds either side of the 56th minute.
Firstly, he came through two tough Juventus challenges with the ball to spray out a perfect long pass and then he had the audacity to ruffle the timeless elegance and composure of Pirlo by dumping him on his backside near the touchline.
It is a side to his game he will need because his ability will make him a target for those practising the darker arts. So it proved here as his night was cut short by 15 minutes as a result of a cynical challenge from Leonardo Bonucci, the new hero leaving to a standing ovation.
Di Matteo described Oscar's performance as "perfect". The same could not be said for a Chelsea side that may have sacrificed some of the steel that took them to triumph last season for a silk that makes them more vulnerable to the sort of quality Juventus possessed.
Whereas they were equipped to dodge the opposition's big punches last season, this more open Chelsea looks like they may take a few on the chin this time around. And there are some very big hitters in the Champions League.
Juventus were well worth their draw and Quagliarella almost won it with a shot from the edge of the area that grazed the bar with Chelsea keeper Petr Cech well beaten.
The draw may have left Chelsea and Di Matteo deflated, but there was no disguising the excitement Oscar's display had created.
If this is a taste of things to come, it will not be the last time the name that is a headline writer's dream will be up in lights on Fulham Broadway.