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Le Saux hangs out with UEFA.com

Former Chelsea FC defender Graeme Le Saux has been a notable presence at the UEFA Champions Festival and he took time to answer your questions in a UEFA.com Google+ hangout.

Le Saux hangs out with UEFA.com
Le Saux hangs out with UEFA.com ©UEFA.com

A pioneer in a generation of flamboyant full-backs, Graeme Le Saux was once the most expensive defender in English football. The former England international made 210 appearances for Chelsea FC during two spells with the London club. And having hosted four European finals, the Olympiastadion's intimate changing room provided an apt hangout for the charismatic 43-year-old to answer your questions.

Bryan Waters: As a former defender how would you go about stopping the Bayern threats such as Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry and Mario Gomez?

Le Saux: The most important thing from a defensive point of view is to try and stop the wide players playing. So the interesting thing is going to be whether Roberto Di Matteo decides to play a 4-4-2 formation or if he sticks with a 4-3-3. If you play 4-3-3 you don't have that much protection in front of the full-backs – so I think it's really important that whoever playes there takes their defensive responsibilities really seriously because Robben and Ribéry are definitely the key players for Bayern – they proved that against Real Madrid: that they are tight defensively but also have the flair to take the game to them.

Edouard Hugot: Who is the best left-back in the world at the moment?

Le Saux: It's very difficult. Ashley Cole is one of the top full-backs. Patrice Evra is also a fantastic full-back and Philip Lahm is an awesome player and a tremendous right-back as well. So you've got some wonderful players but Roberto Carlos really stands out as the most flamboyant full-back of my generation.

Jason Andrews: With your European experience who was the best player you've ever played against?

Le Saux: It's hard to say but probably the best player I've ever played against was Luís Figo. I played against him for the national team. I played against a young Raúl [González] in the Super Cup and he was phenomenal. I think when you get asked these questions about players you've played against, you realise how lucky you've been to reach that standard.

Effectively you're playing against some of the best players in the world. One of my toughest games was against Brian Laudrup for England against Denmark and that was a really tough game. But as a defender if you're really focused and fit and you've got pace, you can get out of a few situations but there was nothing more rewarding than playing against [Zinédine] Zidane and him moving from the left hand side of the pitch to the right.

Matt Bracey-Sherman: Does Čech's protective gear give him an extra boost and how does he rate in the world?

Le Saux: I certainly think they [Čech and Neuer] are up there as two of the best goalkeepers. Neuer is only young and he's a fantastic goalkeeper who has done really well over the last couple of seasons and goalkeepers have a massive influence on the outcome of the game. So both of those goalkeepers have made match-winning saves in the last few rounds of the Champions League so it's no doubt that they are partly responsible for their teams being in the final.

Sam Crompton: You played with Di Matteo, did you ever think he would become a manager?

Le Saux: There are two things about Roberto that surprised me since he stopped playing football. One, that he's a good golfer because he swore that he would never play golf and two, that he's become a football manager because I would never have put money on him becoming a football manager. I can't explain the golf but in terms of football management I think the reason he came back into football is because he left the game due to a horrific injury.

And having taken two or three years out of the game after retiring, I think he realised that he still had unfinished business. He turned the season around for the club by winning the FA Cup and getting to the final so he's done a fantastic job and you can see that he's very relaxed about how he approaches the game. He's got an air of confidence about him.