Ever since I pulled out my Gianfranco Zola toy from my pack of Frosties in 1996, I knew I wanted to support Chelsea.
So, asking to write about the best Chelsea XI in my lifetime is a very tricky task; and to make matters worse I shall create a starting line-up of these players – here goes:
GK: Carlo Cudicini – Although Petr Cech is one of the best goalkeepers in the World, nobody can forget the role Cudicini played. The Italian made some terrific saves before joining Tottenham Hotspur, and was even awarded the best goalkeeper in the Premier League for 2002/03.
RB: Branislav Ivanovic – After his signing in 2008, Ivanovic has grown into the Chelsea squad in his non-preferred position of right back. His Champions League double away to Liverpool put his name on the map for the Blues.
CB: John Terry – Captain of Chelsea and England, Terry is a fearless, dedicated and gifted footballer. He has been solid at the back almost every game and has scored some important goals too. An example of his dedication was when he put his life on the line to block an attempt at goal against Arsenal in the 2007 League Cup final.
CB: Marcel Desailly – The ex-captain spent six years at the Bridge and made over 200 appearances after his move from Italian giants AC Milan.
LB: Ashley Cole – Regarded as one of the best left backs in the World, Cole has solidated his place in the starting eleven. Since his move from rivals Arsenal, the number three has worked on being more of an attacking winger, and an effective one to say the least.
RM: Roberto Di Matteo – Scoring what was the quickest goal in the FA Cup, Di Matteo has always been a well loved character at the Bridge. He made over 100 appearances and after six years at Chelsea, he sadly retired in 2002.
CM: Frank Lampard – Lampard is so far the most capped midfielder Chelsea has ever had. Specialising in assists and long-range shots, he is still a valid member of the squad and is described as the ‘spine’ of Chelsea.
CM: Gus Poyet – The Uruguayan was an energetic midfielder who scored some brilliant volleys during his four-year spell at Chelsea. He was involved in some memorable games and wins for Chelsea and linked up well with Dennis Wise.
LM: Arjen Robben – Undoubtedly Chelsea’s best left midfielder. His pace, trickery and goals were a delight to watch and he was once a personal favourite of mine. He isn’t just a one-trick pony either, as every club he goes to he creates something special.
ST: Gianfranco Zola – Voted Chelsea’s best ever player, the small magician is my all time favourite player. His dazzling feet and incredible quick thinking makes him a Chelsea legend and always will be their best player.
ST: Didier Drogba – More of an up-and-down kind of player. When it’s his day, he is unplayable due to his strength both static and in the air. However, his temper has got him in serious trouble, with the red card in the 2008 Champions League final being an example. You may be thinking why is he in my best eleven then? Ever since his arrival he has bagged many brilliant goals for Chelsea and single-handedly won them many trophies.
So that’s it, my best Chelsea XI since I’ve been a supporter. There are many other big names and arguably better players in my 15 years of support, but from what I can remember, these eleven were the best.