15 Best Chelsea Midfielders Ever

Who is the greatest Chelsea midfielder of all time?

Chelsea has a long history in English football competition. Before being known as one of the greatest and richest clubs in the world, Chelsea had to undergo a period of ups and downs. This team was relegated to a lower division, gained promotion to the top division, became a mediocre mid-table team, and finally managed to align itself with elite clubs such as Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool.

Of course, the journey of Chelsea in world football cannot be separated from the role of their midfielders. In this article, I want to discuss fifteen greatest midfielders ever to play for the Blues. Not only at club level, some of the players in this list also achieved great feats with their respective national football team. Without further ado, here is the list:

15. Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullit was signed from Sampdoria in 1996. At first, he was positioned as a sweeper, but eventually moved to central midfielder. After experiencing difficulties in adapting playing style in English League for about half season, Gullit was finally able to show his top performance and elected as best player of Chelsea in 1996. His greatest achievement occurred in 1997, when Gullit helped Chelsea win the FA Cup tournament as a player-manager.

14. Florent Malouda

During six years of playing for Chelsea, Malouda spent most of his time as a super-sub. Being known as a versatile player, Malouda could be positioned as a winger, an attacking midfielder, or even a second striker. The Frenchman won three FA Cup, a Premier League title and a Champions League trophy before moving to Trabzonspor in 2013. His greatest individual achievement happened when he was selected as Chelsea Players' Player of the Year in the 2009-10 season.

13. Damien Duff

Being known as one of Ireland's best footballer of all time, Damien Duff underwent great career period at Chelsea. He played as a winger, sometimes also positioned as a winger-forward. He was known for his fast, aggressive, and explosive playing style. During the three years of joining the Blues, Duff won two Premier League titles, one League Cup and a Community Shield trophy.

12. Terry Venables

Before being recognized as one of the top managers in the UK, Venables once was a great football player. He played for Chelsea in the period 1960-1966 and for several years was trusted to be the captain of this team. Venables' contibution for the Blues is considerably great, where he appeared in 202 matches, scored 26 goals, and won a League Cup trophy. The players finally moved to Chelsea's arch-rival, Tottenham Hotspur, in 1967.

11. Eden Hazard

Perhaps many people think that including the name of Eden Hazard as one of the best midfielders of Chelsea is still too early. However, Hazard has proved his quality as a great player in his early seasons with Chelsea. He was quickly able to fill the void left by Juan Mata and become a mainstay of the Blues in building offense. If he can maintain his consistency and stays at this club for at least three-four years more, Hazard has the potential to become a Chelsea's legend.

10. Claude Makélélé

Claude Makelele was the first-choice to occupy the defensive midfielder position during the initial period of Jose Mourinho's career as a Chelsea manager. After previously he was frequently benched by Claudio Ranieri, Makelele earned a place in the first team at Mourinho era. His contributions with Frank Lampard and Joe Cole made the Blues midfield line was regarded as one of the strongest in Europe. In total, he won two Premier League titles and two FA Cup trophies.

9. Michael Ballack

Although his performance at Chelsea was not as bright as when he played at Bayern Munich, Ballack still should be included in the list of 15 best midfielders in the history of the Blues. Even when he was regularly hampered by injury, Ballack still gave his best for Chelsea. He managed to present a Premier League title and three FA Cup trophies to the club. Not only that, Ballack was also trusted to be a team captain when John Terry was absent.

8. Roberto Di Matteo

Di Matteo is a retired Italian winger who played for Chelsea in the period 1996-2002. He strengthened the midfield-line of Chelsea along with world-class midfielders such as Dennis Wise, Gustavo Poyet, and Dan Petruscu. His performance was fairly consistent and stable, and he won two FA Cup trophies, a Winners' Cup, and a UEFA Super Cup. In the 2011-12 season, Di Matteo returned to Chelsea as a coach and led the club win FA Cup and Champions League.

7. Juan Mata

Playing for Chelsea for three seasons, Mata was able to show his quality as a world-class playmaker. Not only great at providing assists for the strikers, Mata was also known as a reliable set-pieces taker. He also managed to win an FA Cup trophy, a Champions League trophy, and a Europa League trophy. When Mata decided to move to Manchester United in January 2014, many fans of the Blues felt sad, some of them even blamed Chelsea's management for not being able to keep Mata in the club.

6. Joe Cole

Joe Cole is one of England's most talented midfielders. He has great dribbling skills, accurate passing, and high creativity. Joe Cole can play as a winger, attacking midfielder or second striker. During seven years of playing for Chelsea, Cole won three Premier League titles and three FA Cup trophies. He was also selected as the best player of Chelsea in 2008.

5. Ramires

Ramires is a perfect midfielder. He can play in various positions, ranging from central midfield, winger, and even defensive midfielder. His abilities in defense and offense are equally good, he has high stamina, and he also often scored important goals. Not surprisingly, Ramires takes a role as a mainstay of Chelsea after Michael Essien's left this club. Until now, Ramires has won one Champions League, one FA Cup trophy, and a Europa League.

4. Michael Essien

The greatness of Michael Essien as a central midfielder is no longer in doubt. He is very strong, disciplined, hard worker, and has a very good passing ability. Essien was signed by Chelsea from Lyon in 2005, and for nine years playing for the club he won two Premier League titles, four FA Cup trophies and one Champions League trophy. Essien was also voted as Chelsea's Player of the Year in 2007.

3. Gustavo Poyet

During four years of playing for Chelsea in the 1997-2001 period, Poyet showed impressive performance. He played as an attacking midfielder who was very prolific in scoring goals. His duet with Dennis Wise in midfield line was very solid and helped the club reach the elite position in the Premier League hierarchy. Before moving to Tottenham Hotspur, Poyet presented a Winners' Cup, a UEFA Cup trophy, and an FA Cup trophy for Chelsea.

2. Dennis Wise

Before the era of Frank Lampard, Dennis Wise was regarded as Chelsea's best midfielder of all time. This England player was trusted to be the captain of the Blues for four years. His career at the club itself lasted for 11 years, from 1990 to 2001. During his period of playing for Chelsea, Dennis Wise presented three FA Cup trophies, a UEFA Cup trophy, and a Winners' Cup. He was also elected twice as Chelsea's Player of the Year in 1998 and 2000.

1. Frank Lampard

Without a doubt, the title of best all-time Chelsea should only be awarded to Frank Lampard. Lampard's loyalty and contribution to the team are really remarkable. As a midfielder, Lampard is very prolific in scoring goals. He is even able to become Chelsea's top scorer of all time. Since he was signed by Chelsea from West Ham United in 2001, Lampard has won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, a Champions League trophy, and a Europa League trophy.

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