Abramovich to sell Chelsea: Titles, superstar managers and legendary players – the Russian's reign recapped

By Sports Desk March 03, 2022

Roman Abramovich has decided to sell Chelsea.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Russian-Israeli businessman announced his decision to sell the London club, which he purchased in 2003.

Abramovich has said his decision is "in the best interest of the club", as it comes against the backdrop of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has put him under intense scrutiny.

The 55-year-old oligarch has been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past, and while it was claimed last week that Abramovich has no involvement in politics, a spokesperson for the Blues' owner suggested to the Press Association on Monday that he was "trying to help" achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Russian businesses and high-profile individuals have been hit with crippling financial sanctions by nations all over the world since the attack began last Thursday, and there have been calls in the United Kingdom for Abramovich to be targeted next.

Should Abramovich secure a sale, he leaves Chelsea as a footballing superpower...

The trophies

Chelsea have won 19 major trophies since Abramovich bought the club, with the Blues succeeding in every single available competition at least once.

Their haul includes five Premier League titles (2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10, 2014-15, 2016-17) and two Champions League triumphs (2011-12, 2020-21).

The Blues have won the FA Cup on five occasions since 2003, last doing so in 2018, while they have added a further three EFL Cup titles to their honours list, too.

Chelsea's success in Europe has not just been restricted to the Champions League. They won the Europa League in 2012-13 and 2018-19, and the Super Cup last year.

February brought Club World Cup glory for the first time, completing the set under Abramovich.

Since the owner arrived in 2003, Chelsea have accumulated 1,449 points in the Premier League, more than any other side.

Of the 709 top-flight games during Abramovich's ownership so far, they have won 432, drawn 153 and lost 124, scoring 1,309 goals and conceding 621 for a hugely impressive goal difference of 688.

The managers

Chelsea have flitted through managers during Abramovich's tenure. Indeed, current incumbent Thomas Tuchel is the 15th different coach (including caretakers and interims) to work at Stamford Bridge since 2003.

After dismissing Claudio Ranieri in 2004, Abramovich landed a superstar manager in Jose Mourinho, who would go on to lead Chelsea to their first top-flight crown since 1955 and defend the title the following season.

Mourinho's first stint really was special. He won 124 games, losing just 21 times, and turned Chelsea from pretenders into a true superpower. Of any permanent manager during Abramovich's ownership, the Portuguese's first spell produced the best win ratio (67 per cent).

Yet past success means little as soon as things turn sour for Abramovich, and Mourinho was replaced in 2007-08. His successor, Avram Grant, led Chelsea to their first Champions League final, but John Terry's penalty shoot-out slip proved costly.

Luiz Felipe Scolari proved a bust but Guus Hiddink, in his first, more successful interim spell, subsequently delivered FA Cup joy in 2009, and a 72.7 per cent win rate from his 22 matches in charge (16 victories). 

Carlo Ancelotti was next through the door. He claimed a Premier League and FA Cup double in 2009-10, while Roberto Di Matteo secured the club's first Champions League title with a penalty shoot-out defeat of Bayern Munich.

Mourinho's return yielded a fourth Premier League success, but the Special One's second spell deteriorated quickly and he was sacked in December 2015 with Chelsea sitting 16th. Hiddink came in for a second interim spell but won just 10 out of 27 matches (a 37 per cent win ratio).

Chelsea won a trophy in each season under Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri. Club great Frank Lampard was given the job in 2019 but lasted just 18 months, finishing with the lowest win ratio of any permanent Chelsea boss under Abramovich (52.4 per cent). Tuchel took the same side to Champions League glory.

The players

Superstar managers must have superstar players to manage, and Chelsea have certainly had their fair share of those during Abramovich's time at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard made 354 league appearances from 2003 to his departure in 2014, scoring 136 goals, but John Terry tops the top-flight appearances list during Abramovich's reign, with 411.

Petr Cech was arguably the best goalkeeper in world football in his prime, and he ranks third on that list (333), while current captain Cesar Azpilicueta will go down as a club great, even if he will never be considered among world football's true elite.

Eden Hazard scored 85 league goals in 245 games across his seven years with the Blues. Michael Essien was a superb player for Chelsea after joining in 2005, while Claude Makelele, signed in 2003, was crucial to Mourinho's initial success.

Only Lampard scored more goals than Didier Drogba (104), though Diego Costa was brilliant in Mourinho's second spell. Jorginho, Antonio Rudiger, Edouard Mendy and N'Golo Kante have proved superb signings in recent years.

There have been flops, perhaps none more so than Fernando Torres, while the world-record fee for a goalkeeper splashed out on Kepa Arrizabalaga does not seem so wise and Timo Werner has struggled since his move from Germany in 2020. Romelu Lukaku could well be added to that list if he does not discover his best form.

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