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Top 10 Chelsea Greatest Players in History (Ranked)

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HIGHLIGHTS

  •  Chelsea’s top 10 players include Frank Lampard and John Terry, with factors like goals and importance considered.
  •  Bonetti, Wilkins, and Harris are among the unsung heroes from Chelsea’s past, with loyalty and longevity defining their legacy.
  •  Hazard, Osgood, and Zola make the cut for Chelsea’s greatest players too, with skill, impact, and titles as their defining features.

Since Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea Football Club in 2003, the Premier League has been a goldmine for them. His hefty investment brought in a slew of top-tier players, and with Jose Mourinho steering the ship at his prime, the club soared to unprecedented heights.

It’s no wonder that recent stars dominate discussions of Chelsea’s greatest players. But dismissing the club’s history before Abramovich is unfair. In the 20th century, there were luminaries who shone brightly for the Blues. In the 1960s and 1970s, names like Ron Harris, Peter Bonetti, and Ray Wilkins stood out, contributing significantly to the club’s domestic success. These players rightfully hold their place among Chelsea’s all-time greats.

Ranking factors

Determining who the greatest player in Chelsea’s history is can be quite subjective. Certain players stand out due to their exceptional talent and impressive collection of trophies, making them obvious contenders. However, the ranking is always open to interpretation and debate.

  • Goals
  • Assists
  • Trophies
  • Expectation
  • Importance to the team
  • Longevity

So, with that in mind, let’s now rank the 10 greatest players in the history of Chelsea – all of whom have left an unquestionable mark on the club.

The 10 greatest Chelsea players of all time
Name Years played for Chelsea Appearances
Frank Lampard 2001 – 2014 648
John Terry 1998 – 2017 717
Gianfranco Zola 1996 – 2003 312
Didier Drogba 2004 – 2012 & 2014 – 2015 381
Petr Cech 2004 – 2015 494
Peter Bonetti 1959 – 1975 & 1976 – 1979 729
Ron Harris 1962 – 1980 795
Ray Wilkins 1973 – 1979 106
Peter Osgood 1964 – 1974 & 1978 – 1979 354
Eden Hazard 2012 – 2019 352

10. Eden Hazard

(Chelsea: 2012 – 2019)

Top 10 Greatest Chelsea Players in History (Ranked)

Back in the summer of 2012, Eden Hazard was a real hot property in the football world. He caused quite a stir when he announced on Twitter that he was leaving his childhood team, Lille, to join the team in west London. Fast forward seven years, and he bid farewell to Chelsea as one of the greatest players ever to don their iconic Blue jersey.

During his time at Stamford Bridge, he played a pivotal role in the club’s successes, clinching the Premier League title twice, the Europa League twice, as well as the FA Cup and League Cup. Renowned as one of the finest players globally at the peak of his career, the Belgian sensation netted an impressive 110 goals in 352 appearances. Chelsea fans won’t be forgetting him anytime soon; he brought sheer delight with his style of play and consistently delivered in crucial moments for the club.

9. Peter Osgood

(Chelsea: 1964 – 1974 & 1978 – 1979)

Top 10 Greatest Chelsea Players in History (Ranked)

Peter Osgood was an absolute star during Chelsea’s glory days in the swinging sixties and seventies. Known as ‘The King’ among Chelsea fans, his skill with the ball, strength, and instinct for positioning were unparalleled. He had this knack for finding the back of the net that made him stand out from the rest. Even today, he’s still held in high regard by Chelsea supporters for his contributions to the club’s success back in the mid-20th century.

Watching Osgood play was like witnessing poetry in motion. He moved gracefully across the field with a confidence that was hard to match. Whether he was scoring with his left or right foot, he made it look effortless. And let’s not forget that signature swagger he brought to the game.

For a solid decade, Osgood was a staple in Chelsea’s lineup. His most memorable moment? Probably his legendary performance in the 1970 FA Cup, where he scored in every round, helping Chelsea clinch the trophy. With 139 goals in 354 appearances for the club, his stats speak volumes about his talent.

Outside Stamford Bridge, there’s a statue of Osgood, a testament to his enduring legacy at Chelsea. However, despite his undeniable talent and popularity, some might argue that he’s not higher on the list of club legends because he didn’t rack up as many titles during his time with Chelsea.

8. Ray Wilkins

(Chelsea: 1973 – 1979)

Top 10 Greatest Chelsea Players in History (Ranked)

Ray Wilkins joined the club as an apprentice and wasted no time in making his mark on the first team, debuting in 1973 at just 17 years old. It wasn’t an easy period for the team, with several key players leaving, but Wilkins showed his potential and was made captain at the age of 18. Despite his efforts, the team couldn’t avoid relegation in 1975. However, two years later, he played a pivotal role in helping the club secure promotion.

Wilkins was truly exceptional on the field, known for his incredible passing ability which earned him recognition as one of the top players in the country during the 1970s. Although he didn’t win any major titles with Chelsea, his leadership and talent made him indispensable to the team, placing him among the top 10 players in the club’s history. Even after retiring from playing, Wilkins stayed connected to Chelsea, serving as an assistant coach in various stints and retaining a high level of respect within the club.

7. Ron Harris

(Chelsea: 1962 – 1980)

Harris earned the nickname ‘Chopper’ for his no-nonsense defensive style, which made him a cornerstone of Chelsea’s defense for nearly two decades. His standout performance in the physical showdown of the 1970 FA Cup final is etched in the club’s history.

He’s revered as one of Chelsea’s all-time greats, primarily because of his staggering 795 appearances, more than any other player. Despite the lure of bigger clubs, Harris remained committed to Chelsea throughout the 1970s, displaying remarkable loyalty. Known for his versatility across the backline, the Englishman’s dedication and longevity rightfully earn him a place among the club’s top 10 legends.

6. Peter Bonetti

(Chelsea: 1959 – 1975 & 1976 – 1979)

Considered as one of the greatest English goalkeepers ever, the former Blues goalkeeper holds a revered status at Stamford Bridge. His remarkable reflexes and graceful agility mesmerized fans during his prime. Peter Bonetti graced the field 729 times for the club, securing him the second-highest appearance record in the team’s annals.

Dubbed ‘The Cat’, he played a pivotal role in all of Chelsea’s triumphs throughout the 1960s and 1970s. His defining moment arrived during the iconic 1970 FA Cup final against archrivals Leeds United. Despite sustaining an early injury in the second leg, he showcased a string of crucial saves across both legs, clinching victory for Chelsea. With his stellar performances and enduring loyalty to the Blues, Bonetti undoubtedly ranks among the finest to don the prestigious blue jersey.

5. Petr Cech

(Chelsea: 2004 – 2015)

Top 10 Greatest Chelsea Players in History (Ranked)

Petr Cech isn’t just hailed as Chelsea’s greatest goalkeeper ever; he’s also celebrated as one of the Premier League’s finest. His legacy spans an impressive 11-year stint at Stamford Bridge, where he clinched every conceivable domestic and European accolade.

Yet, it’s his unforgettable display in the 2012 Champions League final in Munich that truly cements his legendary status. Cech’s heroics between the posts were pivotal in Chelsea’s triumph, notably saving an Arjen Robben penalty in extra time and deflecting two more shots in the shootout. It was a night where his brilliance shone brightest in a Chelsea jersey.

4. Didier Drogba

(Chelsea: 2004 – 2012 & 2014 – 2015)

Top 10 Greatest Chelsea Players in History (Ranked)

Didier Drogba was the epitome of a nightmare for defenders, checking off every box that made him formidable on the field. Throughout his tenure with the club, he solidified his reputation as the ultimate big-game player. With 157 goals in 341 appearances during his initial stint at Chelsea and an additional seven upon his return for the 2014 season, he firmly secured his position as the team’s fourth highest scorer of all time.

As one of the greatest African talents to grace the Premier League, Drogba’s name will forever be among the first mentioned in discussions about Chelsea’s all-time best players.

3. Gianfranco Zola

(Chelsea: 1996 – 2003)

Top 10 Greatest Chelsea Players in History (Ranked)

Before the reign of Roman Abramovich began, there was Gianfranco Zola, a true standout in the world of football. Zola, an Italian footballer, made quite an impact during his prime years, especially with the west London club. He managed to clinch several prestigious titles including the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Super Cup, two FA Cups, and the League Cup.

Zola’s prowess on the field was undeniable, earning him the title of the club’s greatest player at one point. Watching him play was a sheer delight, with his remarkable creativity and impeccable technical skills stealing the show. His ability to control the ball with finesse and execute skillful dribbles was unparalleled.

Throughout his time with the Blues, Zola netted an impressive 80 goals in 312 appearances. His remarkable goal-scoring record coupled with his significant contributions to the team’s triumphs cemented his legacy in the club’s history. It’s no wonder he holds such a prominent position in our top 10 list of all-time greats.

2. John Terry

(Chelsea: 1998 – 2017)

Top 10 Greatest Chelsea Players in History (Ranked)

John Terry epitomized dedication during his remarkable 19-year tenure at Chelsea, where he stood as the defensive linchpin for the better part of his career. Renowned for his profound understanding of the game, resilience, and physical prowess, the former England international excelled in tackling, intercepting, and heading. Many argue that Terry ranks among the finest defenders in the history of football.

Serving as the club’s most triumphant captain, he guided the Blues to numerous accolades, clinching five Premier League titles among other trophies. Terry’s unwavering consistency and stellar performances firmly establish him as one of the Premier League’s most illustrious defenders. His enduring excellence and remarkable track record with the team position him at the second spot on a prestigious list, narrowly missing out on the pinnacle.

1. Frank Lampard

(Chelsea: 2001 – 2014)

Top 10 Greatest Chelsea Players in History (Ranked)

Frank Lampard, a true Chelsea legend, holds the record for the most goals scored by a midfielder in the club’s history. Many argue he’s the greatest player to ever wear the blue jersey. His impressive list of personal and team achievements is staggering, showcasing his exceptional talent on the field.

Beyond his remarkable ability to find the net, Lampard possessed keen intelligence, remarkable passing skills, and an unmatched work ethic. His consistency and leadership were instrumental during Chelsea’s successful spells under Mourinho, contributing significantly to multiple Premier League titles. Alongside Terry, Cech, and Drogba, Lampard’s crowning moment arrived in the 2012 Champions League final triumph against Munich.

His status as Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer, coupled with numerous accolades and a lengthy tenure at Stamford Bridge, solidify his place as the club’s greatest.

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