By The Sun
WHEN Adrian Mutu arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2003 for £15.2million, it was a new dawn.
The club had just been taken over by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, and were threatening to outspend and topple Arsenal and Manchester United at the top.
The prolific Romanian striker, who had prospered in Serie A with Parma, was part of a £111million spending spree that included the arrivals of Claude Makelele (£16m), Hernan Crespo (£17m) and Damien Duff (£17m).
Pin-up Mutu was meant to be the superstar at the heart of the team, manager Claudio Ranieri’s main man.
But while Chelsea went from strength to strength, Mutu’s career nose-dived.
In September of 2004, after a fallout with new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho over his fitness, Mutu tested positive for cocaine.
A seven-month suspension from the game followed, and although he rediscovered his form at Fiorentina in 2006, his career was blighted by another ban (nine months) after testing positive for appetite suppressant sibutramine in 2010.
But today, Mutu cuts a different figure.
He is leading by example as a figurehead for young Romanian footballers.
At the turn of the year, he was appointed as coach of his country’s Under-21 side.
A NEW CHAPTER
“I think I’m the right person because I know what happens when a player has problems with indiscipline,” he recently told BBC Sport.
“I’ve passed through hard moments and I came back stronger. If one of my players happens to make a mistake I will tell them to learn from it and not to repeat it.
“I came back and I played better than before, proving to everyone that the young players who have made a mistake must be helped, not judged and destroyed.”
Mutu, now 41, has yet to take charge of a promising side that beat an England team featuring James Maddison, Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Tammy Abraham and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in 2019 in the U21 European Championships.
But he is full of ambition before a ball is kicked.
“My ambitions as a coach cannot be lower than the ones I had as a footballer,” Mutu added.
“I always wanted to be better and better. I want to get to coach at least at the same level I played at, and my dream is to be the head coach of the Romanian national team.”
A GLAMOUR PLAYER
In his heyday, Mutu could arguably lay claim to being Romania’s greatest ever player.
He shares his country’s goalscoring record with Gheorghe Hagi – both scored 35 goals.
And in a glittering club career he found the net 203 times in countries including England, Italy, and India.
However, it was the twice divorced star’s off-the-field antics that hogged the headlines.
When he first arrived at Chelsea, he faced charges for allegedly beating up his ex-wife TV presenter Alexandra Dinu. The charges were dropped, but a very public split ensued.
Then he was linked to Hollywood star Moran Atias, after she bombarded him with a flurry of text messages.
The fling with the Israeli-stunner, who modelled for Versace, only lasted a matter of months, but she later revealed he was her first serious boyfriend.
In 2004, he was caught in a newspaper sting having sex and sucking the blood of porn star Laura Andreson.
Mourinho wasn’t impressed and had had enough of the party boy.
SACKED BY THE BLUES
‘The Special One’ and Mutu clashed when he reported for international duty after missing three weeks of action for Chelsea because of an injury.
They argued publicly over his fitness, and the forward was fined the maximum two weeks’ wages – believed to be around £120,000.
Later that month, a routine drugs test was carried out at Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham.
Traces of cocaine were found in his system, and Mutu was banned from playing football for seven months.
He denied any wrongdoing, blaming his doping test failure on a drug to improve his sexual prowess.
“I am not hooked on drugs,” he said.
“I categorically deny this. The only reason I took what I took was because I wanted to improve my sexual performance.
“It may be funny but it’s true. I did not take cocaine. I took something to make me feel good.”
After sacking Mutu, Chelsea have sought damages for his actions for more than a decade.
Initially, the Romanian was ordered to pay the West London giants £15.2million, and there have been several court hearings through the years.
In October 2018, the European Court of Human Rights threw out Mutu’s final appeal and insisted he owed Abramovich the princely sum.
“We are exercising our legal remedies to recover the amounts owed to us and we will continue to do so,” a club representative revealed at the time.
However, news on the dispute has gone quiet with both Mutu and Chelsea keeping mum on the situation.
For all his misdemeanours, Mutu might just be simply misunderstood.
After all, this is a man who finished a law degree while playing at the top level, loves poetry and reads Dostoyevsky.
“I guess I am the ultimate split personality,” he once said.
And in 2013, he showed that he may have turned over a new leaf- showing compassion for a baby rescued from a Chinese sewage pipe.
“I couldn’t figure out how to carry on living, how to eat my breakfast, when I saw this story on TV,” he said.
“He’s a special child. When I saw the baby I said: ‘I must adopt him, he has been sent to me by God.'”
Mutu didn’t end up adopting that baby, but he did welcome a boy Thiago in 2018 with third wife Sandra Bachici, 26, a former Miss Romania.
He also has one child from his first marriage to Dinu and two from his second marriage to Dominican model Consuelo Matos Lopez.
Now a family man, what better a position to be in as mentor of Romania’s finest generation of footballers since his own playing days.
Adrian Mutu sits down during a past match. [Source/ Cable News Network]