Richards, Martinez on Potential Role of Christian Pulisic in UCL Final


In the last round of the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic came off the bench to “close” the game out. The American played the role of supersub closer, setting up teammate Mason Mount for the second goal that finished off the semifinal tie against Real Madrid.

Saturday sees Pulisic and Chelsea take on Manchester City, a team the 22-year-old has enjoyed success against, in the Champions League Final. CBS Sports/Paramount+ did a media Zoom call yesterday, to preview the two UEFA finals, and during that session analysts Micah Richards and Roberto Martinez discussed what role Pulisic could have in the UCL Final.

Chelsea FC vs Manchester City UCL Final FYIs

Kickoff: May 29, 2pm EST, Estádio do Dragão, Porto

Team News    Chelsea     Manchester City

Starting XI Predictions:  Chelsea    Manchester City

Betting Preview: go here

Watch: CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, Peter Drury and Rob Green Announcing

Richards, a former right back who played for Manchester City and Aston Villa, talked about Pulisic’s individual brilliance.

“I love Captain America, I’m a big fan, and you would know that if you watch the show,” he said.

“He’s an exceptional talent, one of the most exciting, breath-taking young players Iv’e seen for a long time, he’s struggled with injuries, as me and Jamie (Carragher) have talked about a lot, but now he’s getting a run of games, and I think he could be the difference, we talk about Chelsea on the counter-attack when (Timo) Werner is floating behind, and he could have a huge impact on this game.”

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, who’s been linked to the open Tottenham Hotspur job, chimed in as well on Pulisic.

“There are very few players that can be really strong as a starter, or as a substitute,” Martinez said. “In the two games against Real Madrid, he starts in the first leg and he makes a difference, and in the second leg he comes on as a substitute and he’s got that incredible intelligence to live up to the role, and you don’t get many players like that.”

When asked about the Spurs vacancy, Martinez provided all the proper company lines, stating that he’s committed to his contract with Belgium, which runs through the 2022 World Cup. As for Pulisic, this will be his fourth cup final with Chelsea, and the Blues have yet to win any of them.

If they win this weekend, it will mark the first trophy that the Pennsylvanian Messi has won at Stamford Bridge. He’s already the leading scorer in UCL history among Americans, and when he features he’ll become the first American-born player to see action in a Champions League final.

Manager Thomas Tuchel has said repeatedly that the Hershey, PA native can be a major impact player off the bench, but he’s also utilized him in the starting lineup quite a bit.


“I want to go out and win that thing before I think of anything else,” Pulisic said in an interview with NBC.

“It is incredible and also, Zack [Steffen] on the other team, who would have thought, two dudes from Pennsylvania you know!? I can see how it is a massive thing and it makes me very proud but I’m focused on this game and I want to win this thing.”

Pregame coverage begins at 1:30pm EST with UEFA Champions League Today, hosted by Kate Abdo with analysts Carragher, Martinez and Richards in studio, and joined by Peter Schmeichel, Guillem Balagué, Nico Cantor and Jenny Chiu reporting on-site from Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Portugal.

As part of the pregame festivities, DJ/producer Marshmello will perform in the kickoff show beginning at 2:40pm EST. We’ll have much much more, in terms of preview material, in the coming days.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.


  1. As a big fan of Pulisic dating from his start at Dortmund, his problem resides in his incapacity to defend.

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