‘Crying over spilt milk’ - Roman Abramovich 2003 comments on Chelsea takeover and Russian money resurface

Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK Government today amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK Government as part of its response to Russia's continued invasion of Ukraine.

The Chelsea owner's assets have now been frozen and it means the club cannot sell tickets, its merchandise shop will be closed and the Blues will not be able to buy or sell players in the summer transfer window.

A special licence has been afforded to Chelsea so they can pay staff and travel to games, while existing ticket holders will still be able to attend matches.

Abramovich had already made the 'difficult decision' to sell Chelsea but any progress with that has now been halted by the UK Government sanctions.

Fans have been asking an array of questions today around how much of the club Abramovich owns, is he friends with Vladimir Putin and how did he make his money?

The latter is something which has been heavily debated over the years and a Financial Times article from 2003 which was reshared today sums up Abramovich's stance on how he made his money amid criticism of his tactics.

He told the Financial Times in 2003: “You have to start from this premise: most people did not want to take the risk. When people say I bought (my investments) on the cheap, they don’t understand what really happened.

“It’s crying over spilled milk. I wanted to participate (in the privatisations) but I had to be prepared to risk everything.”

The 'privatisation' relates to Russia's decision to change from Communist rule to a free-market economy during the 1990s, with Abramovich proving to be a major benefactor of the transformation.

On his relationship with Putin, Abramovich also insisted he had 'no special relationship...apart from through my work as a (state) governor and the government committee I sit on'.

Despite Abramovich's big-money takeover of Chelsea which has led to five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues among other trophies, the Russian always wanted to keep a low profile.

He added in 2003: “In Russia, England is always viewed as a very good place, with its education and culture being of high calibre.

“It’s pleasant to be here, you feel comfortable and you don’t feel people are watching you. I’m sure people will focus on me for three or four days but it will pass. They’ll forget who I am, and I like that.”