Since the year 2000, few clubs in England is as successful as Chelsea. They won almost every available trophy. Some of the greatest Chelsea players of all time were at the heart of this success.
However, others were just as impressive at other times. We listed the 10 greatest Chelsea players of all time in honor of those whose performances were the most outstanding.
Ashley Cole (2006-2014)
Ashley Cole is the greatest Chelsea left-back and one of the greatest Chelsea players of all time. For several years, Cole dominated the left-back position in the EPL. Although a defender, Cole was known for his attacking qualities.
He spent most of his time on the pitch in the opposition half, looking for teammates to assist. He was one of many successful players brought in by Roman Abramovich after he bought Chelsea in 2003. Ashley Cole spent 8 successful seasons and won several trophies.
He won all available trophies while at Chelsea except the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Also, he was voted as Chelsea Players Player of the Year twice and scored the goal of the season in 2010.
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Eden Hazard (2012-2019)
Chelsea’s 21st-century supporters may frown at Hazard’s position on this list. This player mesmerized opponents with his skills and dribbling ability. Some critics say he should have scored more if he did not focus too much on dribbling.
Notwithstanding, he enjoyed a hugely successful 7-year stay at Chelsea. He won numerous personal awards and team trophies. He won the Europa League in his first season and the PFA Young Player of the Year in his second.
Arguably, the 2014/15 season was the most outstanding. He won the league and the EFL cup and personal awards. They include the PFA, FWA, and Premier League Footballer of the Year awards. Also, he was voted as Chelsea Player and Player’s Player of the year award.
For all he did in his 7 years with Chelsea, he deserves a mention amongst the greatest Chelsea players of all time.
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Kerry Dixon (1983-1992)
Dixon is one of the players that left a legacy at Chelsea before the Roman Abramovich era. He joined Chelsea after 3 successful years at Reading in the English Second Division.
Dixon made an immediate impact at Chelsea. He scored more than 30 goals in his first season with the club. Thus, Chelsea emerged champions and gained promotion to the First Division.
Also, Dixon emerged as a joint top scorer in the First Division where he continued to impress. When the team got relegated a few years after, Dixon powered them back with 25 league goals. Again, the club returned to the First Division as champions of the Second Division.
He scored 26 goals the following season and helped the club finish 5th on the league table. Dixon is Chelsea’s third-highest goalscorer in history.
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Peter Osgood (1964-1974, 1978-1979)
The Statue of a player is not built in front of a club’s stadium for nothing. It is the symbol of a player’s importance to the history of a club. Therefore, Osgood’s place as one of the greatest Chelsea players in history is deserved.
Osgood built his reputation in Chelsea’s youth team as a skillful and goalscoring striker. Inevitably, he made his debut with the first team in a League Cup match against Workington in 1964. He scored both goals in Chelsea’s defeat of the team
From then on, Osgood built his legendary status at the club. He scored in three consecutive finals for Chelsea. Including the 2-1 win against Real Madrid in the 1971 European Cup Winners Cup. Also, he scored in every round as Chelsea lifted the 1970 FA Cup trophy.
Following his death in 2006, Osgood ashes were buried at Stamford Bridge. He was so good that they nicknamed him the “Wizard of Os” and the “King of Stamford Bridge.”
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Ron Harris (1960-1980)
Ron Harris represented Chelsea for two decades. During this period, he built a reputation as a tough tackler and loyal servant of the club.
Hence, it comes as no surprise that he holds the records as the Chelsea player with the most League and FA Cup appearances. Also, he is the player with the most appearances in total.
After claiming his first title with Chelsea in 1965 in a League cup victory over Leicester, Harris was handed the captain band the year following.
He led the team to the FA Cup final of 1967 and 1970. Although his team lost the former to Tottenham 2-1, the latter saw him lift the title at the expense of Leeds United.
Importantly, Harris led Chelsea to their first major European trophy when they defeated Real Madrid in the 1971 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
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Peter Cech (2004-2015)
Peter Cech joined Chelsea in 2004 as the then most expensive goalkeeper in the club’s history. Immediately, he was made the first choice goalkeeper by Jose Mourinho.
Without wasting much time, he established himself as one of the best in the league. He kept 21 clean sheets in his first Premier League campaign which earned him the Golden Glove award. He continued to be ever-present and dependable with Chelsea in the year following.
Despite suffering a career-threatening head injury in 2006, Cech came back even stronger. On his return, he won several trophies and kept clean sheets while making crucial saves. Eventually, the elusive Champions League trophy was lifted by Chelsea but not without Cech’s legacy on it.
He saved an extra-time penalty from Arjen Robben with the score locked at 1-1. Also, he made two more saves during the penalty shoot-out which helped Chelsea win the trophy. Undoubtedly, Cech is one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history and the best in Chelsea’s.
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John Terry (1998-2017)
Few players can boast of the on-field leadership qualities of John Terry. During his time at Chelsea, Terry endeared himself to the Chelsea fans with his passion for the club. He gave security to the team at the defense and assisted in attack, especially during set plays.
On one occasion, during the 2007 League Cup final, his face felt the full force of Diaby’s boot as he attempted to head the ball. Terry passed out and had to be taken to a nearby hospital with oxygen attached.
However, within few minutes he returned to the stadium and joined his teammates as they celebrated their title win. Perhaps, that sums up Terry’s Chelsea career: a player who gave all for the club and was hugely successful.
By the time he called it a quit from Chelsea, he had established himself as the club’s most successful captain and one of the greatest Chelsea players of all time.
Terry won 5 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, The UEFA Champions League, and Europa League titles, amongst other individual awards.
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Frank Lampard (2001-2014)
First, it is important to note that Frank Lampard is one of the Highest Goal scoring midfielders in Football history.
When fans nickname you ‘Super Franky’ there must be something special about you. Indeed, Frank Lampard was special and had a remarkable career at Chelsea.
Lampard was a box-to-box midfielder who scored many goals. His penchant for scoring goals despite being a midfielder helped him become Chelsea’s all-time top scorer. In fact, he scored 20 goals or more in five consecutive seasons at Chelsea (2006-2010).
Some of the goals were important too including the 2009 FA Cup-winning goal against Everton. Goals alone do not define Lampard’s career, he achieved both individual and team awards too.
He won several Chelsea, Premier League, UEFA, and FIFA awards. This includes Multiple Chelsea player of the year awards, PFA player of the year, UEFA midfielder, amongst others.
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Gianfranco Zola (1996-2003)
Zola’s place as one of the greatest Chelsea players of all time is a straightforward one. However, whether he deserves the top spot ahead of Drogba is debatable.
Between 1996 and 2003, Zola was Chelsea’s talisman. With a deft left foot like a magician wand, Zola dazzled fans at Stamford Bridge. The dribble, the deft touches, the shots, the curlers, he had it all.
He was so good that he won the FWA footballer of the year award within few months of being in the Premier League. Zola played a pivotal role for Chelsea in the late 90s and early 2000s.
He helped the club claim 2 FA Cups, The UEFA Super Cup, and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. In 2003, the Chelsea fans voted him as the greatest Chelsea player.
In his final match against Liverpool, Zola scored a beautiful goal that drew applause from both the Chelsea and Liverpool fans.
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Didier Drogba (2004-2012, 2014-2015)
In the most important matches, Drogba was the go-to player. He scored hugely important goals for Chelsea, goals that earned the club several trophies.
He scored 10 goals in 10 finals including the 88th-minute equalizer in the 2012 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Importantly, he scored the winning penalty in the same match to help the club lift the trophy for the first time.
There were goals against Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Portsmouth in different league cup and FA Cup finals too.
By the time he decided to leave Chelsea in his first stint, he had established himself as Chelsea’s greatest ever. The poll conducted by Chelsea Magazine in 2012 showed that fans voted Drogba as Chelsea’s greatest ever player.
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Like other businesses, finance plays an important role in football too. Most of the greatest Chelsea players of all time either arrived or improved greatly after Abrahmovic bought the club. With the availability and willingness to spend, clubs build better teams to achieve success.
Notwithstanding, players like Zola who played during the pre-Abrahmovic era, show that success can be achieved without spending so much. Drogba may have been voted as the greatest ever Chelsea player in 2012 but so was Zola in 2003.