Mason Mount was 13 years old and up late on a Saturday night when Chelsea won in Munich and the Champions League cast its spell.
Didier Drogba’s goal, Petr Cech’s penalty saves, the nerve-jangling shootout, the famous trophy thrust into the Bavarian sky by John Terry and Frank Lampard, and those jubilant images flickered through his mind again on Wednesday.
‘For me, it started the dream,’ said Mount, after scoring the final goal in a 3-1 aggregate win over Real Madrid in the semi-final and seal Chelsea’s return to the most illustrious club fixture in world football.
Mason Mount (above) was just 13 years old when Chelsea last won the Champions League
‘I was at home in my front room, watching with my family. My dad let me stay up and watch the game. It was unbelievable, to see the atmosphere, see the celebrations and see the legends that were at this club achieve greatness.
‘I want to do it with this team and we’ve given ourselves a great opportunity to achieve it. We have the confidence and we know we can do it. It’s one more game to go but it’s going to be a very tough one.’
Manchester City await in the Champions League final in Istanbul but, before then, Chelsea have an FA Cup final against Leicester and four remaining Premier League fixtures, starting at City, on Saturday.
‘The warm-up game,’ as Mount jokingly referred to it. ‘It’s in the Premier League, a totally different game, a different feeling. They are top of the league and very close to winning it. Our run is very different.
He stayed up late to watch Didier Drogba’s goal and Petr Cech’s penalty saves to win the title
Mount says the moment John Terry and Frank Lampard lifted the trophy started his dream
‘We’re pushing to stay in the top four and really secure it. That’s our focus. When we meet again a couple of weeks later it will be a totally different atmosphere with the feeling of a cup final. So we’re playing the same team but on totally different occasions.’
City will add the Premier League title to the League Cup they won last month if they win. Chelsea, meanwhile, having knocked the champions-elect out of the FA Cup, have eyes on two trophies of their own. The same pair they won under Roberto di Matteo, nine years ago. And that would be a fabulous end to a campaign seemingly going nowhere in January, when Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as head coach.
‘This season has been a rollercoaster,’ said Mount. ‘Last season was up and down as well. We’ve learned a lot as a group. We’re growing, getting better and now we’re in the final of an FA Cup and the final of the Champions League.
Now he will play in his own Champions League final after Chelsea over came Real Madrid
Mount scored the second goal to help Chelsea beat Real Madrid 2-0 on Wednesday night
‘We managed to get in the FA Cup final last season but fell at the final hurdle. We want to put that right this season and focus so much on winning things and achieving greatness, which all of us boys want to do at this great club.
‘We’ve come through Atletico Madrid, we’ve come through Porto, teams that make it so tough to play against, and now we’ve beaten Real Madrid, we’re in the final but it’s not done. We celebrate the win. We know how well we’ve done but we still need to finish it off.’
Mount’s personal progress has been impressive. From a year on loan at Derby in the Championship to last season’s breakthrough at Chelsea, the club he joined at the age of six, and emerging as a key player and the youngest Englishman to score in a Champions League semi-final.
The goal against Real Madrid was his ninth of the season and sparked wild celebrations, albeit in the eerie surroundings of a deserted stadium.
As a result, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side have progressed to the final 3-1 on aggregate
They will face Manchester City in the all-English final after they beat Paris Saint-Germain
‘You have to create your own atmosphere,’ said Mount. ‘The whole team, the staff, the people in the stands, the boys on the bench they absolutely gave it everything and really supported us. From the celebrations, I could hear them shouting and screaming and running and jumping on the pitch.
‘I was gutted we couldn’t share this moment with the fans because it would have been extra special. It’s a different story when it’s a packed-out Stamford Bridge. I know what it’s like but there are boys who don’t know yet.
‘They’re waiting to feel that atmosphere, to feel the crowd. We tell them how good they are and what an unbelievable connection we have with them. I can’t wait for them to come back and give us that support inside the ground.’