There is no doubt that Chelsea have had a squad full of top talent ever since Roman Abramovich.
The Blues have become a footballing powerhouse over the years with the Russian bankrolling the club, which has led to many bettors using sites such as https://s-bobet.com/ to place bets when they take to the field.
However, the Stamford Bridge outfit have not always had the abundance of riches they have at the moment and whilst their side was full of great players, it is hard to suggest that they were all at the top of the game when Abramovich joined.
So who was in the starting side on August 17, 2003, for the Russian’s first Premier League match as Chelsea owner?
Carlo Cudicini had been at Stamford Bridge for some time prior and had established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, having managed to oust Ed de Goey from his starting spot.
The Italian, though, lost his position in 2004/05, when Petr Cech was brought in. Indeed, he stuck around the club for a number of years and made a return in recent years as a member of the backroom staff.
Glen Johnson was one of the first signings made by Abramovich, as he joined from West Ham United in a £6 million switch. He never established himself, though, and was on the move fairly often.
One of the men to be known synonymously with Chelsea, John Terry had already started to make a name for himself prior to Abramovich’s tenure and continued to show every bit of potential that had been seen in him from a youngster.
Marcel Desailly was a Chelsea hero for many, however he did not last long under Abramovich. The former France defender lasted one season before moving to the Middle-East, however age had caught up with him.
Like Johnson, Wayne Bridge was making his debut for the Blues after signing from Southampton in a £7 million deal. His career at Stamford Bridge was mixed to say the best, as Jose Mourinho’s arrival seemed to push him out of favour rather quickly.
Perhaps a bit of a cult hero for the Blues after his winning goal against Liverpool in the final game of the previous season, Jesper Gronkjaer started off well but was then ultimately shipped off at the end of Abramovich’s first season at the club.
Geremi signed from Real Madrid in 2003 and managed to stick around for much of Mourinho’s tenure, before joining Newcastle United in 2007. He was perhaps nothing more than a squad player during his time at Stamford Bridge, however he certainly played his role rather well.
Juan Sebastian Veron
Juan Sebastian Veron signed for Chelsea as one of Abramovich’s first signings, but having witnessed his performances for Manchester United, it might have been wise to avoid it. He did not last long at the Blues, as Mourinho pushed him out as soon as he could.
Like Terry, Frank Lampard is synonymous with Chelsea and has even gone on to become the club’s manager under Abramovich in recent times. The midfielder broke a host of club records during his playing days and was a Claudio Ranieri signing that certainly worked and outlasted many of the managers the Russian would go on to employ.
The wide areas were seen as an area that needed improvements when Abramovich arrived, hence why Damien Duff was signed from Blackburn Rovers for £17m. The Republic of Ireland international – for whom he is now an assistant manager – arguably played some of his best football at Stamford Bridge before being sold on to Newcastle.
Eidur Gudjohnsen could be argued to be one of the most underrated strikers to have ever played in the Premier League. The Icelandic forward signed from Bolton Wanderers prior to Abramovich’s reign and became an instant favourite of Mourinho’s. He’d go on to represent Barcelona following a hugely successful spell at the Blues.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (sub)
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is a striker that will be remembered fondly by Chelsea fans of a certain generation as perhaps one of the greatest forwards the club had ever had, however Mourinho clearly did not fancy him.
William Gallas (sub)
William Gallas had a rather great start at Chelsea throughout his career, however he was used as a make-way player for Arsenal’s Ashley Cole – with the Blues arguably getting the better deal.
Joe Cole (sub)
Joe Cole made his debut in Abramovich’s first season at the helm of Chelsea and the winger made himself an instant favourite amongst fans and Mourinho.