Chelsea's Drogba and Ivanovic challenge Spartak Moscow's Pareja during their Champions League soccer match in London.
Chelsea's Drogba and Ivanovic challenge Spartak Moscow's Pareja during their Champions League soccer match in London.

Chelsea's Serbian international defender, Branislav Ivanovic, has travelled with the rest of the Blues squad to Portugal, ahead of Tuesday's first leg Champions League tie with SL Benfica.

The Serbian defender, who can play either at right back or in central defensive positions, had been ruled out of competitive action following a thigh injury in last week's league game against Manchester City. He also missed the Blues' 0-0 draw with Spurs last weekend.

However, according to a BBC Sport report, the 28-year-old has been declared fit to play. More importantly, his availability means the Blues' interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo, now has a full-strength squad to choose from.

Ivanovic has made 35 appearances for Chelsea this season and has scored twice.

Meanwhile, Di Matteo has categorically ruled out any notion of his Chelsea squad being either too old or not talented enough to compete with Europe's best and brightest.

"Everybody seems to have an opinion, and they have that right, but I disagree," he said, adding, "I believe in my team, my squad, my players. I don't think we're a weak team, not at all. We have, still, many games to play in the Premier League to reach fourth, and two games in the quarter-finals of the Champions League."

Di Matteo's comments came in the wake of his star midfielder Frank Lampard's statement in The Sun.

"The fixtures and where we are in the table don't lie - we're not as good as we used to be. We used to have a fortress here and, for whatever reason, we're just not doing it. It's something we must all put right," said the veteran midfielder.

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