The last decade was another eventful one for Chelsea. Having started the period with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, the Blues changed managers eight times, entering the new decade with club legend Frank Lampard at the helm.
During this period, the west London outfit tasted plenty of success – three Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League trophy, two UEFA Europa League trophies, three FA Cups and a League Cup.
In what was a hugely triumphant period for the club, many players came in and went out through the doors at Stamford Bridge. But who stood out to be their worthiest acquisition over the last decade? Lets’ take a look;
Signed from La Liga outfit Valencia in 2011, Juan Mata may not have had the longest of stints at Chelsea, but the Spaniard’s time at the club will be long cherished by the fans.
Mata, during his time with Chelsea, lit up Stamford Bridge with his creativity and slick passing, playing an important role in the club’s first-ever Champions League triumph and was again key in their Europa League success the subsequent season. The midfielder was named Chelsea’s Player of the Year during both these seasons.
With Jose Mourinho returning to the club in 2013, Mata’s game time reduced drastically, due to which he made the switch to Manchester United in January 2014. At Chelsea, the Spanish international made 135 appearances, scoring 32 goals and setting up 58 more, winning a number of trophies and many hearts along the way.
Back in 2012, Eden Hazard was one of the most sought-after players, with every top club in England and Europe vying for his signature. So when Chelsea beat everyone else to the punch to land the Belgian from Lille, it was seen as a massive coup. And as the years rolled on, it proved to be a masterstroke for the Blues.
Hazard, during his time with the club, grew into one of the best players across Europe, helping Chelsea to massive success in the process. The Belgian international won two Premier League titles, two Europa League trophies along with domestic cups as well, playing a crucial role in each of those triumphs.
Hazard ended up leaving the club for Real Madrid last summer. In all, the Belgian wing-wizard made 352 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 110 goals and setting up 92 more, claiming a number of individual honours in the process. His trademark runs cutting in from the left-side leaving defenders bamboozled will be long remembered by Chelsea fans as well as the Premier League fans.
Another import from the Ligue 1 in 2012, Cesar Azpilicueta joined Chelsea from Marseille for a fee just under €9 million. And boy, what a bargain has he turned out to be for the Londoners!
Azpilicueta may not be among the most naturally gifted players, but he more than makes it up for it with his dedication, commitment and versatility. During his time at Chelsea, the Spaniard has been asked to perform various duties – right-back, left-back, centre-back, wing-back and every time he has stepped up to the challenge and performed admirably.
A leader on and off the field, Azpilicueta was named the captain at Chelsea following Gary Cahill’s departure. Till date, he has made 374 appearances for the club and at 30 years of age, he still has plenty left in the tank.
The likes of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas were worthy contenders, but Willian’s longevity at the club and the fact that he has more or less been a regular member of the starting XI under every manager that has been at Chelsea since his arrival sees him make this list.
Signed in the summer of 2013 from under the nose of local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Willian has had his fair share of critics during his time at Chelsea. But the Brazilian has fought through it and has added immense value to this side, helping the Blues achieve plenty of success along the way.
Till date, the 31-year-old has featured 329 times for Chelsea, scoring and assisting 59 goals apiece. The Brazilian has been a senior figurehead this season for a relatively young side under Frank Lampard, but with his contract running out at the end of the season, he could very well be on his way out.
Signed from Leicester City following their surprise Premier League triumph in 2015-16, the diminutive midfielder from France made an immediate impact upon arriving at Chelsea.
In his very first season, Kante played a crucial role as Chelsea lifted the Premier League title under Antonio Conte. The Frenchman was duly awarded the Chelsea Player of the Year award, along with the PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Player of the Year honours for that season.
Kante was integral to the Blues’ FA Cup triumph the subsequent season and last year’s UEFA Europa League glory as well. The 29-year-old has racked up 164 appearances for the west London outfit till date and has only enhanced his status as one of the best defensive midfielders in the game currently during his time at Chelsea.