Chelsea FC: 20 Best Players of All Time

Greg Probert@@GregProbertFWContributor IIJanuary 20, 2012

Chelsea FC: 20 Best Players of All Time

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    Since Chelsea Football Club was founded in 1905, a number of talented players have worn the famous blue jersey.

    Pure talent alone is not enough to be called a "great," there are other factors that add to this prestigious title.

    This list was difficult to compile, and I am sure there are others some of you would wish to include.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

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    Everyone at Chelsea loved Jimmy.

    And why wouldn't they? He averaged almost a goal every two games during his time at Chelsea.

    The Dutch striker is one of the most clinical finishers the Premier League has ever seen.

    Hasselbaink joined in 2000 and stayed for four years, in which time he made himself a fan favourite and is considered a Chelsea legend.

Graeme Le Saux

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    Le Saux didn't have the easiest Chelsea career; in fact, it was one which had injury problems and controversy.

    But when he was playing, Le Saux was a class defender and an important part of the Chelsea defence.

    During his two spells with the side, he made over 250 appearances and helped Chelsea to glory in various trophies.

Ray Wilkins

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    "Butch," as he is affectionately known, started his career at Chelsea.

    He stayed at the club for six years, making almost 200 performances and scoring over 30 goals.

    As well as being an important midfielder for the Blues, he also had a spell as assistant manager, and he was well liked by all Chelsea fans.

    We all love it when Ray Wilkins is commentating on a Chelsea game.

Petr Cech

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    When Chelsea bought Petr Cech in 2004 for £7 million, few people thought he could ever surpass Carlo Cudicini.

    But they were to be proved wrong.

    Cech has cemented his place in the Chelsea goal, and he has proved to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world over the last eight years.

    When Cech was involved in an on-field clash and received a horrific injury, it looked as if his career may be over.

    But no, Cech came back and reclaimed his place as Chelsea No.1, and he is continuing to impress to this day.

Alan Hudson

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    This skillful and flamboyant player made 145 appearances for Chelsea in the '60s and '70s.

    Rejected by Fulham when he was a boy, Chelsea snapped him up, and I bet they are glad they did.

    Hudson lit up the league and gained admirers with his classy way of playing.

    During his six-year stay at the club, he made himself a fan favourite.

Steve Clarke

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    Steve Clarke was a no-nonsense defender who was an important part of Chelsea's setup during the '90s.

    He was popular with the fans, and they voted him the Supporters Player of the Year in 1994.

    Clarke was reliable all the way through his career, making 330 appearances.

Ashley Cole

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    Now in his sixth year at Chelsea, he is still one of the first names on the team sheet in every game.

    Widely considered to be the best left-back in the world, Cole has been very important in Chelsea's recent rise to power.

    His solid defensive skills and marauding forward runs have made him popular amongst the Chelsea faithful.

Jimmy Greaves

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    The player Chelsea should never have sold.

    By far the most prolific striker in the club's history, he scored 132 times in 169 games for the Blues.

    Greaves started his career at Chelsea and spent four years there, and although he is not most famous for being a Chelsea player, his place is well deserved on this list, as he is a Chelsea great.

Marcel Desailly

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    At £4.6 million, Desailly was the bargain of all bargains.

    The big Frenchman was captain of the side and boss of the Chelsea defence for six years.

    Making 156 appearances for the Blues from 1998 through to 2004, his partnership at centre-back with Frank Lebouef was one of the most solid defences Chelsea have ever had.

Didier Drogba

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    Now in his eighth year at the club, Drogba has been a linchpin in Chelsea's side for many seasons.

    Without his 150 goals, Chelsea may not have had the success they have had in recent years.

    His first season left Chelsea fans thinking the £24 million the club had spent on him was a waste, but since then, he has won over the crowd and most of them will be very sad the day Drogba leaves Stamford Bridge.

Claude Makalele

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    Signed from Real Madrid for £16.8 million in 2003, Claude Makalele is one of the best midfielders ever to wear a Chelsea shirt.

    He was classed as a defensive midfielder, but in reality, he was the engine that kept the team running smoothly.

    In his five-year stay, he showed his vision, skill, passion and energy to help Chelsea begin the most successful period of their history.

    All players that have tried to fill his position have been under immense pressure because nobody can do it like Claude.

Bobby Tambling

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    One word often used to describe this striker was prolific.

    Over an 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge, he managed to score 202 goals in 360 appearances.

    His goalscoring was one of the main reasons Chelsea were promoted back to the First Division in 1963, so thanks, Bobby, your place is well deserved.

Dennis Wise

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    The hardest man under 5'7", Dennis Wise was a tenacious player.

    Joining Chelsea in 1990, he had an 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge. 

    Wise made 445 appearances and scored 76 goals in this time, quite an impressive goal return for a midfielder.

    He was famous for his leadership as Chelsea captain, his fierce tackles and who could forgot "that goal" against AC Milan.

Kerry Dixon

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    By far Chelsea's main goal threat throughout the 1980s, Kerry Dixon enjoyed an impressive time at Stamford Bridge.

    Joining in 1983 for £150,000, Dixon scored 193 goals in his eight-year Chelsea career.

    He is still one of the fans' favourite characters, and he's greeted with a standing ovation every time he returns to the club.

    He is still involved with the club to this day and is a pundit on many television channels (and gives the Blues a well-deserved bias).

Peter Bonetti

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    Peter "The Cat" Bonetti was a keeper years ahead of his time.

    One of the first keepers to use over and underarm throws to dispense the ball, he was a great talent.

    After joining in 1960, he stayed at Chelsea for 15 years, making almost 500 appearances

    He loved the Blues so much he came back for a second spell in 1976 and played a further 105 games.

Ron Harris

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    His nickname says it all...Chopper was one tough defender.

    A Chelsea legend, Chopper's career in a blue shirt spanned an amazing 19 years.

    It is no surprise that he is still to do this day the player to have made the most appearances for Chelsea, with a staggering 655 games.

    His loyalty and presence alone makes him a guarantee for this list.

John Terry

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    Already a Chelsea legend, there was no way John Terry was going to be kept off of this list.

    "Mr. Chelsea," as he is commonly known, has been at the Club since 1995.

    In his first season as first-team regular, he was voted Player of the Year, and it was only three more years until he was made Captain.

    He has remained the captain and heart of the team until this day, and he shows no signs of stopping. He even had a game as goalkeeper in 2006 and kept a clean sheet...what a player.

Peter Osgood

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    Named by fans as "The Wizard of Os" and "The King of Stamford Bridge," Peter Osgood is still, to this day, one of the most popular Chelsea players of all time.

    The 6'1" striker scored 150 times in 380 games in a Blue shirt, keeping his place as one of Chelsea's top scorers to this day.

    When "Ossie" died in 2006, the club and fans showed how much they admired him by building a statue of him near the West stand of Stamford Bridge.

Gianfranco Zola

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    I'm sure (many people's choice as No. 1 on this list) there are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe this man.

    Such an amazing talent, and at £4.5 million, he was an unbelievable bargain.

    During his seven years at Chelsea, he showed some outrageous skill, most notably the amazing back-heeled goal against Norwich City in 2002.

    He played for Chelsea 312 times and scored an impressive 80 goals. There is only one Gianfranco Zola.

Frank Lampard

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    Lampard is a phenomenon who is Chelsea's third all-time goalscorer...and he's a midfielder.

    When he signed for the Blues in 2001 for £11 million, the fans knew he was something special, but they had no idea how special.

    Over his long Chelsea career, he has managed to find the net 181 times, and adding that to his assists and defence-splitting runs, he has been vital in Chelsea winning three Premier League titles.

    With his career coming to an end, you might think Lampard would have lost his touch.

    No chance. Frank has already scored 11 goals in all competitions this season, and it's only January.

    "Lamps" has been a revelation for Chelsea, and he thoroughly deserves the top spot.

Honourable Mentions

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    There are a number of players that just missed out on the top 20. All great talents and loved at Chelsea, they deserve a mention.

    Frank Lebouef

    Michael Essien

    Pat Nevin

    George Hilsdon

    Roberto Di Matteo

    Tore Andre Flo

    Terry Venables

    Dan Petrescu

    Ed De Goey

    Arjen Robben

    Eidur Gudjohnsen

    Charlie Cooke

    Leave a comment if there are any more players you believe should have been in this list.

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