With Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech out for up to three to four weeks following his knee injury, 35-year-old Henrique Hilario has his chance to prove why he was offered a year’s contract extension.
During the pre-season friendlies, Hilario made some outstanding saves against the likes of Hong Kong Champions Kitchee SC and Thailand All-Stars, as well as a terrific penalty save to deny Luke Varney in Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Fratton Park.
But the Portuguese stopper has proven his worth in bigger, more important games; most notably on his debut against a small Catalonian team known as FC Barcelona, where he managed to keep a clean sheet. Hilario also had impressive displays against Fenerbahce SK, Sheffield United and Liverpool when he won the Barclays Man of the match.
Personally, I’d rather have Henrique Hilario in goal over Ross Turnbull, and I’m sure next season new-boy Thibaut Courtois will take to the bench ahead of Turnbull and – if not already parted – Hilario. However, I’m looking forward to seeing how Hilario performs in the league following his impressive pre-season display. Next up: West Bromwich Albion at home.
By Aaron Aquilina