The foe you know - Chelsea’s Carlo Cudicini
17 August 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Continuing our new feature for 2017-18 entitled ‘The foe you know’, we shine the spotlight on former Spurs players who now ply their trade for our next opponents. While none of the current Chelsea squad have played for us previously, one key member of their coaching staff has – former goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini now serves as assistant to Blues Head Coach Antonio Conte…
Son of former Roma and AC Milan goalkeeper Fabio Cudicini, Italian youth international stopper Carlo spent the early stages of his career in his homeland before coming to the UK with Chelsea in 1999 in a loan deal from Castel Di Sangro. He made his Blues debut as a substitute for Ed De Goey in the second leg of a UEFA Champions League qualifier at Latvian side Skonto in August that year before making his Premier League bow from the start in a 4-0 home win over Derby County at the end of the 1999-2000 season.
On the bench as Chelsea won the FA Cup Final in 2000, he was promptly snapped up on a permanent deal and proved to be a good servant to the Stamford Bridge club over the next nine years. Seen as second choice to Petr Cech following the latter’s arrival in 2004, he did enjoy a number of successful stints in the side and was in and around Chelsea’s squad as they secured a clutch of trophies, including back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006, over the following couple of seasons under Jose Mourinho.
His final appearance for the Blues came in a 1-1 FA Cup third round draw at home to Southend United on January 3, 2009, before he moved across London to White Hart Lane. With Heurelho Gomes out injured, Cudicini was drafted straight into the team, making his debut in a 3-1 home win over Stoke City on January 27, 2009.
Above: Carlo encounters former team-mate John Terry while playing for us against the Blues in September, 2009.
Sadly, Carlo was involved in a road traffic accident in November, 2009, and required surgery to his right wrist and pelvis, but he recovered well and made his comeback as a substitute for Gomes in our memorable 4-0 home win over Young Boys Berne in the play-off round of our 2010-11 UEFA Champions League campaign. Injuries and suspensions to Gomes over the course of that season paved the way for Carlo to make three more appearances in the group stage of that classic European run while he finished the season between the sticks in the Premier League.
Brad Friedel’s arrival in the summer of 2011 added further strength to our goalkeeping department but Carlo continued to train well and made 11 appearances in the cup competitions, including our run to the semi-finals of the FA Cup where we lost 5-1 to his former club.
Hugo Lloris joined us in 2012 and with the Frenchman competing with Friedel for the gloves in the top flight, Carlo became our third-choice keeper. His final appearance in our colours came in a 3-0 win at Carlisle United in the third round of the League Cup during September, 2012. He left us for LA Galaxy midway through that campaign.
Carlo finished playing in 2013 and did some TV punditry work before returning to Chelsea to become a club ambassador and assistant to Conte in July, 2016, shortly after the former Italy manager’s own appointment at the Bridge.
It’s in that role that he’s now set to meet us again this Sunday when we host Chelsea in our first Premier League game at Wembley Stadium, connected by EE.