Assigning FIFA Card Ratings to 21st-Century Chelsea Legends

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 15:  Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates with Didier Drogba as he scores their fourth goal from a free kick during the FA Cup with Budweiser Semi Final match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on April 15, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The latest edition of the popular FIFA series of video games will be launched by EA Sports next week and it's being highly anticipated by fans.

FIFA 18 boasts some new levels of gameplay and, on the back of the recent summer transfer window, gives fans the opportunity to field lineups that include the new megamoney signings their team has made in a year when transfer values skyrocketed to add to the excitement of it all.

For those who follow Chelsea, it means putting debates on formations and lineups into some form of practice. So will the much-maligned Gary Cahill keep his place in FIFA 18 teams? Or will Antonio Rudiger step into virtual lineups?

Can rising star Andreas Christensen become an asset when playing against your mates? And what about new additions Davide Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater and Alvaro Morata?

As this is all fantasy, it means Diego Costa can also get a reprieve from his Chelsea nightmare that has seen the Spain international go awol since the end of last season, when he was last seen in Chelsea colours lifting the Premier League trophy.

It's unlikely to happen in the real world, but FIFA 18 will give Blues fans the chance to put Costa and Morata together at Stamford Bridge in a tantilising strike pairing.

With the game being about the current stars, it means some much-loved Chelsea players do not feature. But fear not, we've picked some Blues legends from the recent past and given them the FIFA treatment.

         

Frank Lampard (Overall rating: 90)

JON SUPER/Associated Press

There hasn't been a better goalscoring midfielder in the Premier League era than Frank Lampard, with his 177 goals ranking him fourth all-time behind strikers Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (200) and Andy Cole (187).

Indeed, so prolific was Lampard during his peak years with Chelsea, his goalscoring bested the likes of Thierry Henry (175), Robbie Fowler (163) and Michael Owen (150).

The closest midfielder to Lampard is Steven Gerrard, who is ranked way back in 17th on 120.

But goalscoring wasn't all Lampard offered. He was the epitome of what a box-to-box midfielder should be, playing a massive role in a Chelsea side that won every major honour in English football and Europe during his 14-year tenure.

For instance, not only did Lampard score those 177 goals, he also assisted team-mates 102 times. Only Ryan Giggs (162) and Cesc Fabregas (107) boast a better record.

Frank Lampard: FIFA Card Rating
Pace85Dribbling75
Shooting90Defending70
Passing85Physical70
B/R

Despite all this, Lampard was a workhorse. He grafted for his team-mates, putting in a defensive shift and rarely shirking his responsibilities elsewhere.

It's because of all this that he would be the ideal player in the gaming world as much as he was in reality.

Lampard had it all: He could pass, shoot, dribble and defend. What more could you want?

       

Claude Makelele (Overall rating: 88)

MOSCOW,  RUSSIA - MAY 21: Claude Makelele (L) of Chelsea fights for the ball with Carlos Tevez of Manchester United during the Champions League Final match between Chelsea and Manchester United at the Luzhniki Stadium on May 21, 2008 in Moscow, Russia.  (
Epsilon/Getty Images

There's a debate that's ongoing at present that revolves around Claude Makelele and N'Golo Kante.

They're both French, play/played in the same position and are/were the linchpin of Chelsea's midfield stability, so the question is a simple one: Who is the better player?

The answer is more complex, though, with strong arguments on either side of the spectrum.

N'Golo Kante: FIFA Card Rating
Pace81Dribbling80
Shooting66Defending81
Passing75Physical84
FIFA '18

Makelele fans will point to him being the original star in his position. So much so, the holding midfield position became known as the Makelele Role and led to teams across Europe desperately trying to find a player capable of protecting the back line in the way he did.

For Kante, however, he's the current PFA Player of the Year after his exploits last season tightened up a porous Chelsea midfield to help them on their way to being crowned Premier League champions. Makelele never won that accolade, despite his undoubted influence.

With the comparison between the pair being pertinent in the modern game, we think it's equally so in FIFA, which is why we've used Kante as the barometer to make out Makelele's rating card here.

Claude Makelele: FIFA Card Rating
Pace80Dribbling65
Shooting50Defending92
Passing88Physical88
B/R

Alike as they may seem, there are differences between the pair. Kante, for example, has already scored three goals in his Chelsea career, whereas Makelele managed just two in five years (2003-08). Neither can claim to be prolific, but Kante gets forward more than his compatriot, hence a lower rating for Makelele in his stats.

         

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Overall rating: 84)

LONDON - APRIL 2:  Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink of Chelsea jokes around during the Chelsea training session at Harlington Training Ground on April 2, 2004 in London. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Before the likes of Didier Drogba and Diego Costa were becoming Chelsea legends, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was helping bring back the glory days to Stamford Bridge.

Gianluca Vialli signed him for £15 million in 2000, arriving from Atletico Madrid. Before that, he had played for four clubs in five seasons, one of which was Leeds United. So Chelsea fans were well aware of his abilities as well as his tendency to not settle in one place for too long.

His nomadic days ended at Stamford Bridge, however, with Hasselbaink remaining for four seasons. He struck up a lethal partnership with Eidur Gudjohnsen that made the Blues suddenly a side capable of sustaining a challenge at the top end of the table.

The side Hasselbaink played in was an extension of the Chelsea team that started winning silverware in the cups during the late 1990s. He even helped keep Gianfranco Zola out of the side for periods.

Hasselbaink's partnership with Gudjohnsen was perfect. While the Icelander played with a maverick style, Hasselbaink was more polished in front of goal, playing off his younger team-mate to score from all over.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink: FIFA Card Rating
Pace82Dribbling83
Shooting80Defending20
Passing70Physical85
B/R

The Dutchman netted with his head and with both feet from inside and outside of the box. Indeed, had he been in his prime when owner Roman Abramovich came onto the scene in 2003 (he was aged 31 then), we may well have seen him become a key part of Jose Mourinho's all-conquering side between 2004 and 2007. Instead, his time was just coming to an end and he missed out.

Hasslebaink was that good, though, and his record in front of goal proves it, with 127 goals in the Premier League—the same number that Sergio Aguero currently finds himself on.

       

Didier Drogba (Overall rating: 90)

Didier Drogba gets the crown from the Premier League trophy placed on his head by Jose Mourinho after the presentation during the Chelsea v Sunderland F.A. Premier League match at Stamford Bridge on May 24th 2015 in London (Photo by Tom Jenkins/Getty Imag
Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

There was a moment when it seemed Costa was going to overtake Drogba as Chelsea's finest Premier League frontman. The Spain international boasted a fine array of talents in his three years in west London, outscoring Drogba in the same time period. But it's all gone sour in the past few months, with Costa away from the club in his native Brazil, pursuing a move away.

That's left a sour taste, and it means Costa can't compete with the peak Drogba years when the Ivorian stepped into a class all of his own. Prior to the end of the 2006/07 campaign—Drogba's third with Chelsea—he had been effective enough, yet he was still lacking as the complete striker.

For all of his physicality, Drogba didn't score enough in the big moments. That all changed in the 2007 FA Cup final, when he scored the winner to down Manchester United in extra time; it seemed a switch had flicked, and he didn't look back after that.

Drogba would go on to score in a further three FA Cup finals before winning Chelsea the 2012 Champions League almost by himself. He scored the equalising goal at the death against Bayern Munich in the final and scored the decisive penalty in a shootout.

Didier Drogba: FIFA Card Rating
Pace87Dribbling85
Shooting82Defending45
Passing80Physical90
B/R

He was the man for the big occasion, and so much of what Chelsea achieved from the time he joined in 2004 to his eventual departure eight years later (we mustn't forget he returned for one season in 2014 when Chelsea won its fourth title in the top flight) was about him.

We've already explained how Lampard was a complete midfielder; by the time he left Chelsea, Drogba could boast being a complete striker. He mastered the role of the lone front man, bullying defenders with his strength, playing on the shoulder to use a burst of pace to get in behind.

He was even a strong defender, dropping back for set pieces to be a commanding presence.

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