When we researched this piece we realised that, despite Chelsea only winning the title a few times in their history, they’ve had a ridiculous amount of top players.
So pulling out the top five ever, and indeed the best player ever to wear a Chelsea shirt, has been a particularly difficult task> But, as so many managers like to say, it’s a nice problem to have!
There are also many different elements to consider when thinking about the best player ever. Overall impact, longevity, statistics and loyalty to the club.
So here goes with TFF’s top five Chelsea players of all time and then our winner at the end.
A lot of the players that we mentioned on this list have power as one of their main qualities. But Gianfranco Zola was all about guile and panache. A real magician on the ball and a player of true unpredictability. Zola not only flummoxed the opposition but everyone seemed to like him. Perhaps one day he will continue his association with Chelsea. Because their may be better players through the history of the great football club but few will ever be as popular as the diminutive Italian who played 312 games for the club and scored 80 goals at the start of their truly international and cosmopolitan period in the Premier League.
Easily one of TFF’s favourite Premier League footballers of all time. He was not only a ridiculously powerful, hard-working and efficient footballer. But Didier Drogba also played the game with a real sense of fantasy football. Scored some absolutely humdinger goals from 40 yards and beyond and just had such audacity about his game that you didn’t know what he was going to do next. Few players will ever have as big an impact on the Premier League Didier Drogba did for Chelsea over the space of a decade. Scored 164 goals in 381 appearances for the club.
John Terry was captain fantastic for Chelsea. He may have had his detractors off the pitch and from other clubs but if he’d been playing for your team you would’ve absolutely loved him. Because he was prepared to sweat blood for the cause and was Machiavellian in his desire to win. No wonder Portuguese manager José Mourinho loved him so much because this was a man who would drag his team through to victory on a weekly basis.
He scored 130 goals in 418 appearances for Chelsea and was a real stalwart for the club through one of the most successful periods in their history.
So many Chelsea fans would’ve gone for John Terry instead of Lampard. That would mainly have been because of Lampard’s arguably treacherous behaviour at the end of his career when he moved to Manchester City for a season. But he should certainly not be blamed for that. Lampard probably would’ve stayed at Chelsea given the opportunity but wasn’t guaranteed first-team football. He was a brilliant player for Manchester City as well – but what a legend he was for the Stamford Bridge outfit.
For a midfielder to be the top scorer of any club in their history is some achievement indeed. And Lampard wasn’t just a goalscorer. He was brilliant on the ball, worked so hard, rarely got injured and drove his team forward at every opportunity. He was a true technician as well as a real battler and he never really got his credit at international level where he and Steven Gerrard didn’t seem to compliment each other. But this was one of the best midfielders in Premier League history and for TFF there is little competition for Lampard as the greatest Chelsea player of all time.