Where are they now? Chelsea’s Champions League winners of 2012

Quick Reads
Chelsea's Didier Drogba parades thewith the Champions League trophy after beating Bayern Munich in the 2012 final.

It’s 10 years since Chelsea won the Champions League for the first time after a series of near-misses following Roman Abramovich’s takeover.

Chelsea had upset the odds to beat Napoli and Barcelona in the knockout stages but few gave them a chance of defeating Bayern Munich in their own stadium.

And, after getting battered for most of the game, Didier Drogba scored a dramatic late equaliser while Petr Cech saved a penalty from former team-mate Arjen Robben in extra-time. Drogba later scored the winning penalty in the tense shoot-out.

We’ve recalled the starting XI from Chelsea’s famous night in Munich and investigated what they’re up to a decade later.

GK: Petr Cech

Cech called time on his playing career, which included nearly 450 Premier League appearances, after losing the Europa League final to his former club in 2019.

His years at Arsenal weren’t quite as successful, but he added another FA Cup to the four he won at Stamford Bridge. And his heroics in Munich cemented his status as the best goalkeeper in Chelsea’s history.

He’s now back in west London as Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor – and will be hoping to play an important role under the club’s new ownership.

RB: Jose Bosingwa

The Champions League final was Bosingwa’s final appearance for Chelsea, but he stayed around in West London for another year, playing in QPR’s miserable relegation in 2012-13.

As is often the case with former high-profile European players, he saw out the twilight years of his career in the Turkish Super Lig, playing for Trabzonspor, before retiring from football in 2016.

CB: David Luiz

Luiz won two more European honours with Chelsea, the Europa League in 2013 and 2019, as well as the Premier League in 2017.

He left the club for a second time when he signed for Arsenal in 2019 and his performances at the Emirates were lapped up by the Chelsea faithful. 

‘Special Agent Luiz’ returned to Brazil last year and has produced a contender for the worst miss of all time. Never change, David…

David Luiz during Flamengo's Brasileirao game agaisnt Sao Paulo at the Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 22 April 2022.

READ: David Luiz produced the miss of the year… & we love him even more now

CB: Gary Cahill

Cahill’s time at Chelsea peaked just a few short months after signing from Bolton in January 2012, but he would enjoy six more happy years at Stamford Bridge, winning a pair of Premier League titles under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

He left at the end of his contract in 2019 after being frozen out by Maurizio Sarri and, following a spell at Crystal Palace, has just helped Bournemouth return to the Premier League.

LB: Ashley Cole

Cole called time on his 20-year playing career, which included 12 major honours and four inclusions in the PFA Team Of The Season in 2019 after a short stint playing under Frank Lampard at Derby County, with his last game a defeat to Aston Villa – with John Terry on the opposite bench – in the Championship play-off final.

The 41-year-old then returned to Stamford Bridge as an Under-15 Academy coach. He’s now working Lampard at Everton, with a brief spell on the England U21 coach staff between his pair of Premier League jobs.

CM: John Obi Mikel

After a year in China, Mikel returned to Europe to feature for Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough, but he couldn’t help turn their season around as they missed out on a play-off place.

He joined Trabzonspor ahead of the 2019-20 season, but left the Turkish club in March 2020 after expressing his concerns about the Super Lig continuing amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The former Nigeria international has played for Stoke City and Kuwait SC since but is currently unattached after his contract with the latter was terminated in November 2021.

Chelsea's Mikel John Obi and Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller during the Champions League final at the Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany. May 19, 2012.

READ: ‘You’re gonna miss’: Why Mikel John Obi was Chelsea’s true 2012 UCL hero

CM: Frank Lampard

After 648 appearances and 211 goals, Lampard eventually left Chelsea after 13 seasons in 2014.

He turned out for Manchester City for a year before spending the final years of his playing career at their sister club, New York City.

He since guided Derby to the play-off final in his first year in management and took charge of Chelsea in 2019.

But, after 18 months, Lampard was sacked with the team languishing in mid-table and is currently trying to keep Everton in the Premier League.

RW: Salomon Kalou (Fernando Torres ’84)

Along with Bosingwa, that Munich final would be Kalou’s final appearance for Chelsea.

He subsequently spent a couple of years at Lille before joining Hertha Berlin, where he scored 52 goals in over 170 appearances.

The former Ivory Coast international is currently unattached after being released by Brazilian club Botafogo last year.

But the 36-year-old spearheads the Kalou Foundation, which aims to improve healthcare for the less privileged and sporting facilities for the youth in his native country.

After a few awkward years between Chelsea and AC Milan, Torres enjoyed an Indian summer at his boyhood club Atletico Madrid, where he came close to winning Ol’ Big Ears for a second time but ended up on the losing side of a penalty shootout in the 2016 final.

Torres retired in 2019 after a brief spell in Japan and is currently manager of Atleti’s U19 side. He may have spent an hour or two in the gym too…

LW: Ryan Bertrand (Florent Malouda ’73)

Bertrand made his Champions League debut that night, playing for 73 minutes in midfield before getting substituted for Florent Malouda.

After four years on the fringes, he was finally given more opportunities the following season under Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez, making 19 appearances in the league and 10 in Europe, before being sold to Southampton in 2014.

The full-back joined Leicester last summer following seven successful years at St Mary’s and is the proud owner of 19 England caps.

Leaving Chelsea for Trabzonspor in 2013, Malouda has since featured for Metz, Delhi Dynamos and Luxembourg club FC Differdange.

After hanging up his boots, he became a coach at FC Zurich in February 2019 but was released after just two months.

AM: Juan Mata

Lovely, lovely Juan Mata left for what was then David Moyes’ Manchester United midway through the 2013-14 season after a somewhat frosty relationship with Jose Mourinho.

Fate would conspire to see them reunite at Old Trafford, where Mata outlasted his former manager by three-and-a-half years. He’ll be leaving United at the end of the 2021-22 season.

It feels weird that he’s made twice as many Premier League appearances for United than Chelsea, doesn’t it?

ST: Didier Drogba

The man for the big occasion’s career ultimately hit its zenith with that header and that penalty. He had a strange few years to round off his playing career after that.

He left the club shortly after that final, going to play in China for Shanghai Shenhua to play with his former strike partner Nicolas Anelka, but that only lasted a few months.

After 18 months with Galatasaray, he returned to Chelsea in the summer of 2014 to play a bit-part role in the 2014-15 title win, before seeing out his playing career in North America with Montreal Impact and Arizona Rising.

Drogba received an honorary degree from RUSTA in June 2021, due to his contributions to the growth of the game of football and the restoration of stability in his home country of Ivory Coast.


More Chelsea

Fernando Torres: The Chelsea ‘flop’ who still stole fans’ hearts

We still can’t believe how good Drogba was in Chelsea cup finals

Can you name every player to wear No.9 for Chelsea in the Premier League?

Celebrating Juan Mata at Chelsea: Part creator, part cold-blooded killer