Club legend reveals that 5-time EPL winners wanted to keep Celtic star

Celtic return to action in the European campaign on Thursday as Russian side Zenit St Petersburg visit Parkhead for the first leg of their last-32 Europa League clash.

Some reunions of some sorts are on the cards in this fixture, with former Chelsea right-back Branislav Ivanovic set to meet with former teammate and Hoops forward Scott Sinclair.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers was Chelsea’s reserve/youth team manager when the 33-year-old first arrived Stamford Bridge a decade ago, and three-time Premier League winner can’t wait to play against his former team-mates.

The Serbian star will likely be playing directly against Sinclair come Thursday, and he remembers the type of trouble that comes with marking such a pacey and talented winger.

The 33-year-old was full of praises for the 28-year-old Celtic attacker as he reminisced on their time together at the Stamford Bridge.

The Zenit defender also revealed how the reigning Premmier League champions were keen on holding on to Sinclair due to his huge potential at the time.

He told the Sunday Post:

“Scott and I played together a few times. He was good, although he was very young when we were at Chelsea. He wanted to make a career elsewhere, though, where he could get more regular games.

“He was one of those who you knew had the potential to be very good. Chelsea wanted to keep him, but he decided to leave.

“He’s a very dangerous player, and I could come up against him directly in Glasgow. It would be a good contest. It will just be like training at Chelsea again. To have someone like him in the Celtic team proves how difficult it will be for us.”

Sinclair failed to live up to expectations at Chelsea, but did team up with Rodgers at Swansea in 2010 before finally leaving England for Scotland. The Englishman remain one of Celtic’s most skilled attacking threats, and would hope to find the net against Zenit both during their home visit and at away.

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Ojo Olayiwola A.

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