Chelsea

Chelsea's best moments under Roman Abramovich

Tom Gott
Abramovich transformed Chelsea
Abramovich transformed Chelsea / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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The Roman Abramovich era of Chelsea Football Club is coming to an end with the news that the Russian billionaire is ready to sell the club.

His arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2003 was the catalyst for the Blues' emergence as one of European football's heaviest hitters. 19 years later, he leaves with a trophy cabinet that most owners can only dream of.

Here's a look back at some of the best moments of Abramovich's reign.


1. The arrival of Jose Mourinho (02/06/04)

Jose Mourinho
Mourinho was Abramovich's first hire / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

The moment that really started everything, Abramovich gave the new kid on the block, a certain Jose Mourinho, the chance to take his career to the next level in England.

He offloaded the popular Claudio Ranieri in summer 2004 and replaced him with Mourinho, who had just won the Champions League with Porto – and he delivered Chelsea their first league title in 50 years in his debut season.

The charismatic operator would oversee two spells as Chelsea boss, both of which contributed to his reputation as one of the greatest managers in history.

2. The 2004 summer transfer window

Didier Drogba
Drogba was one of the big arrivals in 2004 / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Mourinho's tactical genius played a huge part in Chelsea's success, but so did the Blues' business in the summer of 2004.

Paulo Ferreira, Petr Cech, Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba, Tiago and Ricardo Carvalho were the big names that arrived that month, most of whom have gone down in Chelsea legend as some of the club's all-time greats.

To this day, whenever a side does some good business in the transfer window, they are compared to the Blues in 2004.

3. Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona (08/03/05)

Abramovich's Chelsea announced themselves on the global stage with this absolute barnstormer of a European tie with the almighty Barcelona.

Having fallen 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, Chelsea came flying out of the gates back at the Bridge and were 3-0 up inside 19 minutes.

Ronaldinho tried to spoil the fun with that iconic toe-punt, but Chelsea stood firm and showed the rest of the world that they weren't messing about under the new boss.

4. The first Premier League title (30/04/05)

Chelsea
Chelsea's first title came in 2005 / PAUL BARKER/GettyImages

In the first year of Mourinho, Chelsea romped to the Premier League title, sealing the honour with a 2-0 victory away at Bolton Wanderers.

Frank Lampard bagged both goals that day, capping off a historic season with the glory it deserved.

The team's defence went down in history as well. The Blues conceded just 15 goals in 38 games and that remains the standard against which modern defences are held today.

5. Winning the double (15/05/10)

Chelsea
Chelsea won a famous double / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

After a few more successes in either the Premier League or the domestic cups, Chelsea finally won both in the 2009/10 campaign.

Boosted by the free-scoring tactics of Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea breezed to the league title with an 8-0 victory over Wigan Athletic, before Drogba stole the show at Wembley (as per) to see off Portsmouth in the FA Cup final.

Ancelotti's Chelsea are another all-time great and a key marker of the Abramovich era.

6. Finally winning the Champions League (19/05/12)

Roman Abramovich, Didier Drogba
Abramovich finally got his hands on the Champions League / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Having won everything there was to offer domestically, Abramovich became hyper-focused on lifting the Champions League and eventually got his hands on the prize in 2012.

Playing the rare role of underdogs, Chelsea made a dramatic comeback to beat Napoli in the last 16, then bested Benfica in the quarter final before pulling off a huge upset to beat Barcelona in the semis.

The reward was a trip to Munich's Allianz Arena to meet the mighty Bayern Munich, but Drogba was in no mood to bow to the hosts as he scored the winning penalty to immortalise his spell at the club.

7. Antonio Conte's Premier League glory (12/05/17)

Antonio Conte
Conte stunned English football / Michael Regan/GettyImages

The first year of the Antonio Conte reign looked like it was going to end in disaster early on, but it turned into a record-setting success that revolutionised modern football.

Bringing in his famous 3-4-3 formation, which up until that point was effectively unknown to Premier League fans, Conte shook up the English game and stormed to a title in his first season.

Michy Batshuayi's late strike against West Brom in May 2017 sealed the deal and wrote Conte's name into club history.

8. The return of Frank Lampard (04/07/19)

Tammy Abraham
Lampard ushered in a new era / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

While it didn't exactly kick-start the new era that it was supposed to, Abramovich deviated from the norm by bringing the legendary Lampard back to the club as manager.

With Chelsea serving a transfer ban and reeling from the departure of Eden Hazard, Abramovich put his faith in Lampard to steady the ship and bring through some of the academy gems that Abramovich had worked so hard to produce.

The Russian had spent huge sums to modernise Chelsea's academy, and when the likes of Mason Mount, Reece James and Tammy Abraham blossomed into first-team stars, it all became worth it.

9. Thomas Tuchel's Champions League triumph (29/05/21)

Cesar Azpilicueta
Tuchel led Chelsea to another title / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

When the Lampard experiment started to go south, Abramovich went back to his tried-and-trusted methods and brought in Thomas Tuchel, a big-name boss to turn things around immediately.

To say the former PSG manager did that would be an understatement.

Tuchel led Chelsea back to the top four but, most importantly, stunned Europe by winning the Champions League, seeing off Manchester City 1-0 in the final.

10. Completing the trophy set (12/02/22)

Cesar Azpilicueta
Chelsea completed the set / Francois Nel/GettyImages

A fitting end to the Abramovich era, Chelsea lifted the Club World Cup in February 2022 - the only trophy the Russian had yet to win by that point.

Cesar Azpilicueta became the first Chelsea player to win every single trophy on offer to the club that night, embodying the unfathomable success that Abramovich had ushered in.

It was a fitting end to a trophy-laden spell at the Bridge which will not be forgotten anytime soon.

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