From the instant the final whistle blew at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, and Chelsea nervily secured victory over the 10 men of Benfica, the attention immediately turned to the Blues' Champions League semi-final matchup with Barcelona.
And no sooner had the mind keened in on Barcelona then memories came flooding back of Chelsea's acrimonious defeat to the Catalan giants at the same stage of the competition in 2009.
In that infamous semi-final Andres Iniesta struck in injury time to send Barcelona through on away goals after a drama- and contention-filled second-leg at Stamford Bridge.
The game's conclusion brought about incensed reactions from the Chelsea's players, most notably Didier Drogba, whose ferocious protests toward referee Tom Henning Ovrebo led to a ban from UEFA.
Chelsea fans continue those protests today, many believing they were robbed as part of a conspiracy from above to see Barcelona win year after year.
Their evidence of having several penalty appeals denied in that semi-final has been furthered, in their minds, in the years since by Barcelona wins over Real Madrid and Arsenal that as they see it were aided by the contribution of the officials.
Chief cheerleader for the belief in Barcelona's success resulting from treachery dreamed up in the dark halls of UEFA is former-Chelsea boss and long-time Barcelona foe Jose Mourinho.
One day, I would like Josep Guardiola to win this competition properly, Mourinho said after he had his witnessed his Real Madrid side go down 2-0 to Barcelona in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final last year after Pepe's red card, according to the Guardian.
Mourinho then went onto cite all the incidents where Barcelona have perceived to have been favored by officials.
Why Ovrebo [two] years ago? Why couldn't Chelsea go to the final? Last year it was a miracle that Inter got there playing with 10 men for so long. A miracle. Why weren't there four penalties against Chelsea [in 2009]? Why send-off [Arsenal's] Van Persie? Where does their power come from?
Where to start with Mr. Mourinho? It is sad that his comments even need to be retorted, but yet so many people follow the charismatic Portuguese, notably many Chelsea fans who still hang on his every word, that they warrant addressing.
Let's first clear up claims about the tie against Chelsea. While the Blues were denied several penalties, when perhaps at least two would normally have been given, Barcelona also suffered bad calls.
Eric Abidal was extremely unlucky to be sent off for a supposed trip on Nicolas Anelka, while in the first-leg it is conveniently forgotten that Barcelona should have had a penalty after Jose Bosingwa tugged down Thierry Henry in the box.
There were bad calls and on the balance of things they may have had a greater negative impact on Chelsea rather than Barcelona, but that happens sometimes in soccer. It's been three years and it's time to move on.
As for last year's tie against Arsenal, it was certainly harsh to give Robin van Persie a second yellow-card for kicking the ball away. But once again, what gets ignored is that Lionel Messi wrongly had a goal disallowed in the first leg for offside.
And to bring up the 2010 semi-final with the then-Mourinho managed Inter is simply ridiculous. Barcelona had a goal ruled out in injury time, for a questionable handball call, that would have taken them through. So if Mourinho could explain how that fits in with the conspiracy, I'd love to hear it.
Never missing a chance to make a childish barb at Barcelona, the much-revered manager was at it again this week.
Let me be honest with you, I don't think the final will be Real Madrid/Chelsea. It can be Bayern it can be Barcelona, I just don't think it will be Real Madrid against Chelsea--and you know why, he said to SKy Sports,not even attempting to deny the scandalous inference he was making.
Perhaps the following statement is giving him too much credit, but Mourinho is far too intelligent to believe the words that come out of his mouth. They are likely nothing more than an increasingly desperate attempt to distract from his own shortcomings against Barcelona as well as to try and influence the referees to perhaps unconsciously favor Barcelona's opponents in future matches.
Ignoring the fact for now that the inflammatory rhetoric form Mourinho is the sort of thing that can incite violence inside a stadium, anyone who believes the man's ramblings are denying themselves the pleasure of witnessing a truly era-defining soccer team.
Can you really be considered a soccer fan if you sit and watch Barcelona play--with their incessantly accurate passing and beautiful touches, coupled with a truly exceptional work ethic--and yet feel anger because of some nonsensical idea that their success is not merited?
Chelsea may well again lose out to Barcelona for a spot in the final of the Champions League when the sides meet later this month. But it won't be because of a UEFA-led plot. It will be because they are quite simply one of the best teams the soccer-watching world has been privileged to witness.