Scott Sinclair celebrates during the League One match between Bristol Rovers and Barnsley at Memorial Stadium, Bristol, August 2023.

9 former Chelsea players we can’t believe are still playing in 2023

Kings of acquiring players in the transfer market, Chelsea have a ton of former players still somehow playing football in 2023.

The Blues have had an incredible number of players signed to them since Roman Abramovich’s takeover 20 years ago, with many sent out on loan time and again. And some who left the club what seems like aeons ago are still going strong now, years later.

We’ve picked out nine ex-Chelsea players who we can’t believe are still playing in 2023.

Diego Costa

It still feels like a psychedelic dream that Costa played in the Premier League last season, barging defenders over and scoring once in 23 appearances for Wolves in their successful fight against relegation.

Aged 34, despite Costa having the appearance and demeanour of a well-lived fifty-something uncle, the striker returned to Brazil this summer and signed for Botafogo.

Alexandre Pato

Chelsea legend Pato played just twice and was already well past his scintillating best by the time he rocked up at Stamford Bridge.

The former Brazil international has since played in Spain, China and back in Brazil for Sao Paulo. Forget talk of wasted potential, he’s still proving his creative genius knows no bounds…

Celebration of São Paulo's second goal, scored by Alexandre Pato, during the match between São Paulo x Santos held at Morumbi Stadium in São Paulo, SP. The game is valid for the 15th round of the Brasileirão 2023.

READ: Wasted potential? F*ck that, Alexandre Pato has given us the maddest celebration of 2023

Salomon Kalou

Kalou is 38 but is still turning out for Djiboutian side Arta/Solar7 alongside former Arsenal and Barcelona man Alex Song.

Much loved at Stamford Bridge for his goalscoring cameos from the bench, the ex-Ivory Coast international is a proper throwback to the era of Barclays, Jose Mourinho and actually taking Chelsea seriously.

Juan Mata

We all know Mata is still playing, having just signed for Vissel Kobe. We just think it’s very, very cool that the 35-year-old has gone to Japan and wanted to share this banging tweet with you.

Victor Moses

It seems like another lifetime ago that Moses was the wing-back sensation in Antonio Conte’s title-winning side. In reality, he was contracted to the Blues as recently as July 2021. Yikes.

He joined Spartak Moscow permanently that summer after a loan spell there, the seventh loan of his Chelsea career. And the Nigeria international is still playing in Russia now. He’s only 32.

Franco Di Santo

Di Santo was always doomed to failure at Stamford Bridge; he was very unhelpfully dubbed the ‘new Maradona’, then someone had the bright idea of giving him Chelsea’s famously cursed No.9 shirt.

He played a few times under Big Phil Scolari, but was never really up to the task and wasn’t prolific at Wigan after leaving Chelsea either.

Following six years in the Bundesliga, he’s embarked on a backpacker’s dream tour, taking in Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and now Chile, where he currently plays for Universidad Catolica aged 34.

Chelsea number nine Fernando Torres celebrates scoring against Aston Villa in the Premier League game at Villa Park, Brimingham, 31 March 2012.

READ: Most cursed shirt in football? Ranking every Chelsea No.9 of the PL era from worst to best

Filipe Luis

Luis didn’t pull up any trees at Stamford Bridge after signing from Atletico in 2014. After just one season and 15 Premier League games, he was back off to Madrid to rejoin Diego Simeone’s team of b*stards.

But his difficulties in England aren’t any sort of indictment of his quality. At his best, Luis was one of the toughest left-backs in world football.

Now aged 38, he’s still pulling on the shirt of Brazilian giants Flamengo and has won two Brazilian titles and the Copa Libertadores twice.

Sam Hutchinson

Hutchinson was only 21 and still at Chelsea, for whom he made a senior debut aged 17, at the time of his retirement. He took the decision then owing to recurring knee injuries.

“It wasn’t a big call at the time because I hated it,” he told the Guardian in 2017. “I just wanted to stop the pain and stop everything. I never wanted to come back. I didn’t want to play for Chelsea either because I blamed them for it, even though it wasn’t [their fault], it was just what happened.”

An improvement in his condition allowed him to return, however. He first re-signed for Chelsea, but he’s gone on to build a solid career away from Stamford Bridge, most of which he’s spent with Sheffield Wednesday.

The midfielder is now at League One outfit Reading.

Scott Sinclair

One of the most hyped English youngsters of his generation, Sinclair has enjoyed a very nomadic career since leaving Chelsea in 2010.

After five appearances for the Blues, and six loan spells, the winger’s form at Swansea earned him a move to Manchester City in 2012. But the move to the Etihad always seemed misguided and Sinclair struggled for game time.

Spells at Aston Villa (unsuccessful), Celtic (more successful) and Preston (okay) followed, before Sinclair returned to boyhood club Bristol Rovers last summer.

The Memorial Stadium is far from football’s epicentre, but Sinclair seems to be enjoying his football at the age of 34 and we can’t say fairer than that.

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