Cole reveals that he snubbed Real to join Chelsea

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The Independent Football

Ashley Cole revealed last night why he left Arsenal and snubbed Real Madrid for Chelsea ­ because he believes the Blues have more Englishmen and superstars.

The England left-back made his drawn-out and controversial move across London last week to join Chelsea and his international team-mates John Terry, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole.

Despite the Spanish giants Madrid boasting a squad of galacticos, and Arsenal reaching the European Cup final with their squad of mostly non-English players, the 25-year-old Cole believes that he has a better chance of success at every level with Chelsea.

The Stamford Bridge club splashed out on the World Cup superstars Andrei Shevchenko and Michael Ballack this summer, and they were more tempting to Cole than lining up alongside Thierry Henry or David Beckham.

He said: "Before I went to the World Cup I spoke to Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. He asked me where I would like to go and I told him I would rather concentrate on the World Cup.

"I was told after the World Cup there were a couple of clubs interested ­ Chelsea and Real Madrid ­ and I'm happy to be here. Two or three days before the transfer window, Chelsea came in with their final bid and I'm here now.

"They [Chelsea] have won the League for two years' running and have a great captain in JT [Terry] as well as a lot of English-based players. They are a very ambitious team with the players they have brought in like Shevchenko and Ballack. Hopefully coming here, I can win more medals and the Champions' League.

"The England players made it easier for my decision. I play with JT, Lamps, Wayne, Joe Cole and Shaun, so that did influence my decision a little bit more."

Cole said that he was fit enough to play Premiership football even though he had taken part in only one reserve game for Arsenal and three England internationals so far this season.

"My fitness is good. I didn't have the greatest pre-season, I went back a week late. I trained on my own and tried to keep fit. I have played three England games now and a reserve game for Arsenal so I am getting the fitness. Hopefully I can be involved in the next couple of games. I feel good in myself. In the last game I didn't play too well for England but in the games before I felt fit enough and was getting up and down."

Cole has already set his sights on helping Chelsea to win the title for a third successive season but regards winning the Champions' League as the biggest prize. "I've won the League twice now so winning the Champions' League would be a great achievement."