The 9 players Chelsea signed alongside Didier Drogba – and how they fared

Quick Reads

In the summer of 2004, Chelsea appointed Jose Mourinho and completed arguably their defining signing of the Premier League era with a £24million deal for Didier Drogba. 

Drogba scored 164 goals across two spells at Chelsea and his time at Stamford Bridge coincides with the most successful period in the club’s history.

But he wasn’t the only signing at Chelsea that summer, and we’ve taken a closer look at the other nine players the Blues bought ahead of the 2004-05 season.

Paulo Ferreira

After helping Jose Mourinho win the Treble with Porto in 2003-04, Ferreira became the manager’s first signing at Chelsea.

The right-back was an unspectacular but consistent performer at Stamford Bridge and won 11 major honours over a nine-year period, including three Premier League titles, the Europa League and the Champions League.

“The boy never gets injured, which means he consistently plays around 60 games a season, no problem,” Mourinho said of the player. “Paulo will never get a mark of 10 out of 10 in a game or even nine, but neither will he ever get below a seven or an eight.”

Petr Cech

He did alright.

READ: Ranking the 21 goalkeepers to appear for Chelsea in the Premier League

Mateja Kezman

Having scored 129 goals in four years at PSV Eindhoven, expectations were high when Kezman completed a £5.3million move to Chelsea.

The striker failed to justify the hype, scoring just four Premier League goals in his only season at the club before leaving for Atletico Madrid.

However, he did help Jose Mourinho win his first trophy in English football by notching the winner in the 2005 League Cup final win over Liverpool. 

“Chelsea was the best thing in my career,” Kezman told Sportske in 2011. “That was the climax of my career, for sure. Living and playing in London was something that I will never forget.

“I don’t know if I made a mistake because I moved away so quickly. Maybe I do and maybe I don’t regret it, but I always believe in my decisions. But the transfer to Chelsea made my dreams come true.”

Arjen Robben

Robben joined Chelsea along with PSV team-mate Kezman, and it’s fair to say the Dutchman faired slightly better during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Despite being plagued by injury problems, he played an integral role in Mourinho’s first successful Chelsea side, winning back-to-back Premier League titles. 

Alongside Damien Duff, the winger continued to entertain the fans at Stamford Bridge before being sold to Real Madrid for £24million in 2007.

READ: Remembering Arjen Robben, Damien Duff & a Chelsea side at their most fun

Tiago

Signed from Benfica, Tiago immediately established himself as a regular in the side and lost just one of his 34 Premier League games in 2004-05.

Despite his success, the midfielder was deemed surplus to requirements following Michael Essien’s arrival from Lyon in 2005, moving in the opposite direction.

Ricardo Carvalho

Carvalho reunited with Mourinho and Ferreira at Chelsea after signing from Porto for £20million and was undoubtedly worth every penny. 

He immediately forming an outstanding partnership with John Terry at centre-back as the Blues conceded just 15 Premier League goals on their way to the title in 2004-05.  

The former Portugal international even won Chelsea’s Player of the Year award in 2008 before being re-signed by Mourinho at Real Madrid in 2010. 

Nuno Morais

Morais impressed Jose Mourinho enough during a trial to earn a permanent contract at Chelsea but made just nine appearances in all competitions. 

“I learned a lot from Mourinho,” Morais told AS in 2013. “He taught me how to play in the middle because I had been a centre-back at Penafiel.

“It was difficult to get playing time with (Claude) Makelele, who was always my idol, (Michael) Essien and (Frank) Lampard. But I learned a lot.”

He left Stamford Bridge following the expiration of his contract in 2007 and joined Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia on a free transfer. 

Alex

Despite signing for Chelsea in 2004, Alex had to spend three seasons on loan at PSV Eindhoven due to problems obtaining a work permit. 

The centre-back finally moved to London in 2007 and went on to make 134 appearances, winning Premier League title and two FA Cups. 

He also became a fan-favourite at Stamford Bridge by hammering in ridiculous free-kicks, most notably against Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2009.

After falling down the pecking order under Andre Villas-Boas, Alex decided to join Paris Saint-Germain in January 2012.

Alcides

Alcides helped Brazil win the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship and signed for Chelsea on the recommendation of famed scout Piet de Visser.

After loan spells at Benfica and PSV Eindhoven, he joined Ukranian side Dnipro in 2008 having never made an appearance for the Blues.

The defender can be considered an OG member of the Blues’ loan army. Shortly before leaving permanently, Alcides told the Evening Standard: “I am in an awful situation. I have a contract with Chelsea and no other club. I am now waiting for what Chelsea want to do. Do they want me in their first team or will they decide to sell me? I have no idea what my future is.”

It’s no surprise he wasn’t a fan of loan moves. Ahead of a temporary switch to Benfica, Alcides was kidnapped in Sao Paulo, negotiating his release by convincing the kidnappers that he wasn’t a footballer. Blues fans can be forgiven for falling for the same trick.


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