Since Roman Abramovich bought the club in July of 2003, Chelsea have become a different club than they were in decades past, both in stature and in the eyes of global fans of the game. With the exception of Manchester City’s likely progression over the next few years, Chelsea are rather unique in the Premier League. Since the introduction of new ownership, they’ve enjoyed success like never before, especially with such frequency.
That’s why I chose to focus a ‘historical’ best Chelsea XI on the post-Abramovich era. When one thinks of the past 12 years at Chelsea Football Club, they think of a club transformed, from Abramovich’s yearning for the Champions League, to long-standing servants of the club like John Terry and Frank Lampard, to the controversies that have surrounded each manager’s tenures at the helm. However, despite the managerial turmoil, Chelsea have enjoyed an impressive haul of silverware, winning several Premier League titles, along with the FA Cup and League Cup trophies, the Europa League and, most coveted of all, the Champions League.
You don’t win all of those things without great talent in the squad, and Chelsea have had their fair share of legendary players during that time. From Didier Drogba to Michael Ballack, Joe Cole to Damien Duff, Lampard to Ashley Cole, Terry to Eidor Gudjohnsen, Nemanja Matic to Eden Hazard, Chelsea have had a number of memorable names on the roster. But I could only pick XI. Without further ado, here is my Chelsea Best XI of the Abramovich Era.
Chelsea’s Best XI Post-Abramovich
11. Ricardo Carvalho – Carvalho arrived at Stamford Bridge as almost a package deal with manager José Mourinho in July of 2004. The former Porto center back had a rather high price for a defender but justified it with staunch defending alongside John Terry. His contributions to the back four were a major reason for Chelsea’s stellar defensive record on their way to claiming back-to-back titles. The lanky defender had an eye for goal, a knack for interceptions and a hard-nosed style that endeared him to Chelsea supporters even after his eventual sale to Real Madrid in 2010 (to join Mourinho).
10. Paulo Ferreira – Ferreira was also a member of the FC Porto side which won the 2004 Champions League under Mourinho. Like Carvalho, he followed his manager to West London in search of further conquests and proved a valuable member of the squad for years. Most celebrated for his versatility, the diminutive Portuguese defender was able to feature on the left and right side of the back four. Even after Mourinho’s departure, Paulo Ferreira was a constant fixture at Chelsea, ultimately helping to win the 2012 Champions League before retiring from the club at the end of the season.