In the fourth edition of ‘A generation of players’ I will be analysing a list of Chelsea Centre Backs from the last decade, and look at who we will rely on to fore fill this position in the future.
Before I go on to analyses Chelsea centre backs I just want to have a few words on some of the best CBs in the world throughout history. The likes of Bobby Moore and Franz Beckenbauer are two legendary CB’s, and players such as Nemanja Vidic, Thiago Silva and Gerard Pique are certainly in the top 10 CB’s of this decade. But what about Chelsea? How do our boys match up against the likes of these players?
Chelsea to the core and a true hero to the fans, John is the most successful captain in Chelsea history and in many eyes, he’s the best central defender currently in action. Filling in as youth team centre-back one day due to a lack of alternatives, he has never looked back, and now has over 550 caps.
John Terry has been honoured as Chelsea’s Player of the Year in 2001 and 2006, and PFA Player of the Year: 2004–05, along side being in numerous Team of the Years.
Terry is certainly one of the best CB’s to step on a football pitch, and we all hope he continues to direct Chelsea to success.
Desailly is considered one of the most accomplished players of the game and one of the best players of the past two decades, having won virtually every major team award. Desailly moved to Chelsea in 1998 for £4.6m, where he captained the side until the end of the 2003–04 season.
The French-man earned over 156 caps for the Blues and picked up one major trophy in his six seasons with Chelsea, being on the winning side in their FA Cup triumph.
Claudio Ranieri bought Gallas from Marseille in May 2001 for £6.2 million. Under Ranieri, Gallas developed centre-back partnerships with Marcel Desailly and later with John Terry; his partnership with Terry included a run of 16 games without conceding a single goal. Furthermore, Gallas was part of Chelsea’s team which won back-to-back Premier League titles and a League Cup under José Mourinho.
However, it is a shame this great player left the club on bad terms.
Carvalho joined his former manager José Mourinho and former teammate Paulo Ferreira for a fee of £20 million at the time and performed extremely well in his first season with Chelsea, helping them win the Premier League title, their first top-flight domestic title in 50 years, and the League Cup. His partnership with captain John Terry in central defence was hailed as a major factor behind Chelsea’s two Premier League titles in a row.
He was honoured with Chelsea’s Players’ Player of the Year: 2007–08 and played over 138 games for the Blues.
Alex Rodrigo Dias da Costa, a personal favourite, made just under 100 appearances for Chelsea, and was part of the 2010 double. I will never forget Alex’s sensational swerving goal from 30 yards against Liverpool in the CL.
However, frequent injuries and the signing of David Luiz resulted in the departure of Alex in 2012.
Luiz joined Chelsea in January 2011 and has now made over 50 appearances for the club. From day one he was a hit with the fans, and was awarded with the PFA Fans Player of the Month: March 2011.
Luiz played in the Champions League final and converting his penalty shootout attempt as a centre back, however this season we are seeing Luiz being played further up the pitch where he can display his Brazilian flair.
On 22 September 2012, Luiz signed a new five-year contract with the Blues.
Gary Cahill signed for Chelsea in mid-January 2012. On moving to Stamford Bridge from Bolton Wanderers, Cahill took the number 24 shirt.
Cahill enjoyed arguably his most impressive game in a Chelsea shirt during the 1-0 Champions League semi-final first leg victory over Barcelona, but having picked up an injury in the return, he missed the last month of the season, including the FA Cup Final win against Liverpool at Wembley.
However, having been passed fit only days ahead of the Champions League Final, Cahill started the game against Bayern Munich and played the full 120 minutes, picking up a Champions League winners’ medal and ending a memorable season in the best possible fashion.
Cahill is another one of my favourite players in the current squad. His honest and work ethic make him a great role model, and a future club and country captain.
One’s for the future
Bruma is currently in his second season on loan at Hamburg. On arrival in Germany, Bruma quickly established himself as a regular in the side, making 23 appearances and even chipping in with two goals. The move was such a resounding success that, at the end of the season, it was announced he would stay on for a further year. This youngster has a lot of potential and I hope he comes back next season.
Tall and able to play in central defence or midfield, he came through the Chelsea Academy and also played for England Under 16s.
On 31 August 2012 he joined Championship side Watford, managed by Gianfranco Zola, on loan. The loan initially stipulated that Chalobah would return to Stamford Bridge in January, 2013. However, after impressing at Vicarage Road and featuring regularly, the deal was extended until the end of the season.
Nathaniel recently won England’s Youth Player award.
Nathan Ake is 18 years old and was given his PL debut against Norwich (played 1 min.) and then made a full debut in the FA Cup against Middlesbrough and he was very impressive.
Ake produced a promising display of talents that you would not believe a boy of his age to have. Strength, passing, movement, stamina and composure of which you would not expect the young Dutchman to carry.
Usually he prefers to play at the back, but he is flexible to play in a holding midfield role, similar to his fellow Chelsea teammate David Luiz, who he also shares his barber with, as the two seem to like the ‘Mop’.
As you can see, there have been several CB’s here at Chelsea so I’ve only said a few words on my favourites, but be sure to comment if I leave out your favourite CB’s and your favourite pairing.