Greatest Chelsea XI Who Were Only Great Elsewhere

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2014

Every football club has its heroes, those players who often crop up in lists of greatest names and all-time line-ups.

But just because a player has been a legend for one team, it doesn't always mean he is guaranteed success elsewhere. Ask any fan and they will reel off the big-name signings who arrived to plenty of fanfare at their club only to make a quiet exit when it all went wrong.

Chelsea are no different, with their fair share of players who achieved little in West London, but were world renowned before they arrived or achieved great things when they departed.

Turning the notion of an all-time XI on its head, Bleacher Report has compiled a line-up of Chelsea players who never quite cut it at Stamford Bridge, but were celebrated elsewhere in their careers.



Mark Bosnich

Having failed to emulate Peter Schmeichel at Old Trafford, Mark Bosnich arrived at Stamford Bridge in January 2001 with a point to prove.

The Australian had been a great goalkeeper for Aston Villa during his seven years at Villa Park and earned a fine reputation, which then took a beating at Old Trafford.

He never did win it back, either. From suffering as a United player, things got worse for him in West London, with a failed drugs test seeing him sacked by Chelsea in September 2002.


Winston Bogarde

The Dutch defender had a good reputation in European football before he moved to Chelsea in 2004. That soon changed, though, with Bogarde never settling in English football, putting in some woeful displays.

He quickly fell out of favor and when Chelsea tried to offload him, he preferred to sit tight on his lucrative contract, refusing a move.

Bogarde eventually left Stamford Bridge in 2004 when his contract expired, retiring shortly after. It was a sad end to a career that had seen him play for the likes of Ajax, AC Milan and Barcelona, also winning 20 caps for Holland.



Asier del Horno

It was all going so well for Asier del Horno at Chelsea—until he faced Lionel Messi in the 2005-06 Champions League.

The youngster gave del Horno the run around at Stamford Bridge, getting the Spaniard sent off. Del Horno's Chelsea career never recovered, with him being sold to Valencia later that summer, just shy of a year since he arrived from Athletic Bilbao for £8 million.

He had been one of the rising stars of Spanish football, impressing at Bilbao. It never happened for him in a blue shirt, unfortunately.


Christian Panucci

Chelsea fans thought they were getting a real legend of the game when Christian Panucci joined the Blues on loan from Inter Milan in 2000.

It's true Panucci was well regarded in Europe, but certainly not at Chelsea. The Italian proved a major disappointment, playing just eight times in the league and rarely looking the part.

His career had taken him to the Bernabeu with Real, the San Siro with AC Milan and Inter, but it never worked out in London. To rub salt into the wound, he later spent eight years at Roma where he became one of the club's biggest heroes of the past decade.


Brian Laudrup

Like his brother Michael, Brian Laudrup was an exciting player to watch and had all the zip and verve that Chelsea were looking for when he joined on a free transfer from Rangers in 1998.

Then 28, he was entering the prime years of his career, but he never seemed to fit in at Stamford Bridge.

Laudrup had been a hero during his four years in Scotland, winning titles aplenty and performing well for his country.

Life south of the border just didn't quite suit as he struggled to get to grips to Gianluca Vialli's rotation system and he soon left for Copenhagen five months after joining the Blues, being swapped for Bjarne Goldbaek.


Scott Parker

Injuries and managerial changes at Stamford Bridge ensured Scott Parker's 18 months as a Chelsea player have been among his most unfortunate and forgettable in his career.

He was at Charlton Athletic before joining Chelsea for £10 million in 2004. Since departing West London to join Newcastle United in 2005, he has also played for West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and now Fulham.

He has been integral for each club, just not Chelsea.


Emmanuel Petit

Once great for Arsenal, not so for Chelsea.

Frenchman Petit won the Premier League with the Gunners as part of a formidable midfield combination with Patrick Vieira. He was ruthless and commanded matches in a way Arsene Wenger's teams have not in the past decade.

Having joined Barcelona in 2000, he returned to the Premier League within a year, joining the Blues.

The same summer he arrived, a certain Frank Lampard also joined from West Ham United, although it's safe to say Petit never quite scaled the same heights as his former team-mate.


Juan Sebastian Veron

So impressive in Serie A with Sampdoria, Parma and Lazio, Veron's career in English football was a nightmare from start to finish.

He joined Manchester United for £28.1 million in 2001 and having failed to repeat his form from Serie A, he was offloaded to Chelsea for £15 million in 2003—the summer Roman Abramovich bought the club.

Veron's time at Chelsea wasn't much better than at United. He did score on his debut in a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield, but that was the only positive to come from his four years as a Chelsea player.



Porto and Barcelona had made Deco's name, but by the time he arrived in England in 2008 many were predicting his time at the top was up, despite only being 30.

It didn't quite seem that way at first, though, with a memorable debut against Portsmouth that saw him score a wonder goal at Stamford Bridge—the Portuguese international grabbing all the headlines.

He even scored another golazo against Wigan Athletic the following week, but it was all downhill from there as Deco struggled to show the kind of form that had once seen him so revered in Portugal and Spain.

He left Chelsea in 2010.


Andriy Shevchenko

It had been rumored for a long while that Chelsea were after signing Shevchenko. In 2006 they eventually got their man, but it came a couple of seasons too late for the Ukrainian.

The endeavor and desire were there, but his body simply wouldn't allow Shevchenko to perform at the levels we had grown accustomed to during his glory days at AC Milan.

He had once been the most feared striker in all Europe, but in England he became a stick with which to beat Chelsea and their willingness to splash big money on big stars.

For £30 million, the Blues got nine league goals from 48 games—that's £3.33 million per goal.


Fernando Torres

There have been signs the Torres of old will return at Chelsea, but then tragedy often strikes in the form of injury or suspension.

If we're judging the Spaniard on goals alone, he has been an epic failure at Stamford Bridge, with his return nowhere near what would be expected of a £50 million striker.

He has brought other qualities to Chelsea, adapting his game to fit into a system not overly built for his strengths. The fact remains, though, that Torres at Liverpool and Atletico Madrid before then, was one of the world's finest strikers who most defenders feared. At Chelsea, it hasn't quite been like that.


Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes


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