Five Legendary Signings by Chelsea FC Under the Roman Abramovich Era
In 2003, the second richest Russian, Roman Abramovich, decided to acquire Chelsea football club. He ended up changing the landscape of English football. Roman Abramovich and his millions transformed the club into the European powerhouse that they are today.
What followed next was one of the glorious chapters in the history of English as well as European football. Today, in 2020, the Blues have slipped to the 10th position.
To revive the fortunes of the club, he is ready to splash out money again. Let us take a look at the five greatest signings who revolutionized Chelsea under the Roman Abramovich era.
1. Eden Hazard
Think of the biggest football flops in recent times. I'm sure the name of Eden Hazard wouldn't go unnoticed. He may have made a terrible blunder by switching bases from Stamford Bridge to Santiago Bernabeu, but that doesn't undermine his legacy at his former club.
He was the world's most sought after player and the Blues were involved in a hotly contested race with Manchester United FC before signing him from Lille in 2012 for £32m.
Hazard proved his worth by inspiring the Blues to win two Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one League Cup and the Europa League. The dexterous winger is unstoppable when at his prime and he has been touted as one of the finest left-wingers that the Premier League has ever seen.
His speed on the ball, speed of thought, technical ability and then seeing players bounce off him made him a fan favourite.
His title count does not match that of Drogba or Peter Cech; it hardly feels like enough of a title haul with such a talented player, but nobody on the blue side of London will ever doubt what he has done for the club.
Eden Hazard is a recipient of four Player of the Year awards; Drogba won the award just once. He signed off with an outstanding performance with two goals and an assist to his name in the Europa League Cup final against the Gunners to bring back the title to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea FC did make a fortune by selling the Belgian, but had he played for a few more years at Stamford Bridge, the Blues would have been in a better position than they are at currently.
Hazard's fans had a little bit of hope that he would have a change of heart, but his departure was inevitable and they will have to live with it. He's a pure genius, surely the Premier League's most exciting player, and someone who always seemed to want to entertain.
2. Didier Drogba
Rumours of a prospective striker was doing the rounds in France after his exploits in Ligue 1 for Marseille, bagging 32 goals in just 55 appearances during his first and only season with the club.
Jose Mourinho was quick to bring Didier Drogba to the club and he did not disappoint him with 16 goals in his first season at Stamford Bridge, thereby helping Chelsea bring back the Premier League title after 50 long years.
The Ivorian was a revelation in the 2009-10 season, netting 29 goals to end up as the division's top scorer as Chelsea won their third title in six years. Drogba’s unique blend of physicality and powerful finishing ability made him a fearsome opponent and one of Chelsea’s top goalscorers of all time.
He delivered when stakes were high and in high-pressure situations like the Champions League final. His brilliant equaliser in injury time to drag the match to penalties (It just had to be him...), the winning penalty at shootout and the foul on Arjen Robben inside the penalty box would forever be etched in his memory as the greatest moments of his career. He must be very grateful to Cech for saving the Arjen Robben penalty!
The Ivorian is the king of Stamford Bridge and stories of him scoring in crunch situations and destroying the opposition will be narrated fondly to future generations. He is a Chelsea legend, national hero, and an African icon. His impact transcended Chelsea football club.
3. Peter Cech
Peter Cech is undoubtedly the greatest goalkeeper in the history of Chelsea football. The Czech Republic star was acquired by Roman Abramovich's Chelsea for £7 million, the then record amount paid for a shot-stopper. He went on to be Chelsea’s number one for 10 years.
He proved himself worth every penny as he helped the club win four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Champions League title, and one UEFA Europa League title in his glorious 11-year career at Stamford Bridge.
The Czech stalwart is the only keeper in EPL history to have kept more than 200 clean sheets (202), which speaks volumes of his legacy between the sticks. The custodian made as many as 494 senior appearances for the Blues, which is a record for any foreign player plying his trade for Chelsea so far.
Cech's most significant moment came in the Champions League final where he saved an Arjen Robben penalty deep in extra time before going on to save two further penalties in the shootout to help Chelsea lift the Champions League trophy for the first time. He was clearly at the upper echelons of every attribute required to be a quality shot-stopper and was a titan for the Blues.
He is now enjoying his ice hockey career after signing with second-tier British side Guildford Phoenix as a goaltender, while still working behind the scenes at Chelsea as a technical and performance advisor.
4. Claude Makelele
Well, if you are to criticize his legacy, he had a position named after him, colloquially known as "The Makelele role".
That more than suggests his inclusion on this list; he is responsible for redefining the role of the defensive midfielder and is considered to be one of the best central midfielders in the history of Chelsea football with over 200 appearances for the Blues.
He was instrumental in delivering two Premier League titles under Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese coach often described him as invaluable to the club. He is widely known for putting Ronaldinho in his place and even threatened to send him to the hospital, after which Ronaldinho apologized and gave him the possession!
Going by Ronaldinho's legacy and aggression, it seems less likely that he would have given the ball over so easily, but you can imagine Makelele getting it back himself.
The guy oozed class and watching him play was simply joie de vivre. He had a bitter ending to his glorious career as Chelsea narrowly lost to Manchester United FC on penalties in the Champions League 2008 final.
But he is now relishing his role as the youth coach and technical mentor at Chelsea FC. The future of the fledglings at the Chelsea academy is in the safe hands of a legend, who'll strive to turn these kids into superstars.
5. Ashley Cole
A stalwart in a Chelsea side that won eight trophies in eight years between 2006 and 2014, "Cashley" cashed in on the opportunity and made the best decision of his career after following the money to Chelsea, who doubled his wages to £90,000 a week. Fame and legacy soon followed and he likely felt that his decision to move to west London was justified.
The Englishman was in a league of his own in his prime as he made memorable goal-line clearances. Defending in his typically calm and assured manner made him the greatest left-back to have ever played for Chelsea.
After his controversial £5m move, Cole helped Chelsea FC secure four FA Cups, one Premier League title and the Champions League in 2012. He managed to keep Cristiano Ronaldo in his pocket on multiple occasions and it is no surprise that the Portuguese icon still considers the Englishman as his toughest opponent.
Tantalizing individual duels were fought throughout the years in the Premier League, with Cole getting the better of Ronaldo on most occasions. Few could match his defensive instincts, timely runs, comfort on the ball and general consistency. Cole played at Chelsea with distinction and with a degree of longevity. He made defending look incredibly simple and that is arguably what made him so great.
Among all their silverware in 115 years, the Blues have won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, the Champions League and Europa League with the Russian owner. The change of guard in their boardroom brought about an instant uplift in their performances.
These five players have played the greatest part in helping the club become the second most successful team during Roman Abramovich's tenure – behind Manchester United. He is in love with his club and has hit on some absolute gems to revive the fortunes of the Blues.