Chelsea defender Maren Mjelde is back in training nearly seven months after suffering a cruel ACL injury in the closing stages of last season’s Continental Cup final in March.
Chelsea had already wrapped up a comfortable 6-0 win over Bristol City when Mjelde went down in agony in the final 10 minutes of the contest. Her pain took all of the joy out of winning the trophy.
Having spent the last few years establishing herself as one of Chelsea’s most important players, the versatile Norwegian left the field on a stretcher with an oxygen mask. Fran Kirby ensured she would not be forgotten in the celebrations by holding up Mjelde’s number 18 shirt.
But following surgery and several months of rehab, forcing her to miss the start of the 2021/22 season, Mjelde was back on the training pitch for Chelsea on Tuesday morning.
The 31-year-old was applauded by her delighted teammates and her name rang out.
Her return is a timely boost for a Chelsea side about to embark on a new chapter as the Women’s Champions League kicks off a brand new group stage.
The Blues have six games to play between now and mid-December, facing Servette, Juventus and Wolfsburg home and away. In amongst that are ongoing commitments from last season’s delayed FA Cup on top of their usual WSL fixtures.
Even when the Champions League group stage finishes, there will be no let up for Chelsea in their quest for trophies on five fronts. They enter the Continental Cup at the quarter-final stage in January, while this season’s FA Cup also begins that month.