Chelsea has become a different club since being taken over by Roman Abramovich in 2003. That is inseparable from a squad filled with star players.
We know names like Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Petr Cech and many others who have played for Chelsea. They did wonders for the club based at Stamford Bridge.
Even so, not all top players decide to settle permanently with Chelsea. Some of them left London and found success.
However, some players also regret leaving Chelsea. On that note, let’s take a look at the top players who shouldn’t have left the Blues:
5 players who regret leaving Chelsea
5. Joe Cole
Graduated from West Ham United’s academy, Joe Cole is considered one of the promising young prospects. Manchester United were very interested in signing the Englishman when he was just 16 years old.
Eventually Joe Cole developed with the Hammers before moving to Chelsea in the summer of 2003. He became the sixth signing since the takeover of Roman Abramovich.
He was touted as the ideal replacement for the great Gianfranco Zola. With his incredible talent, agility and dribbling skills, the England midfielder is a delight to watch for the Blues.
He won three Premier League titles with Chelsea before his contract expired in 2010. After that, he signed for Liverpool.
“It was difficult for me to leave the club at that time. It was difficult,” said Cole.
And, sure enough he met a big failure at Liverpool.
4. Michael Ballack
With some outstanding performances for Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, Michael Ballack impressed many.
That fact made Chelsea bring Ballack in 2006. Over time, the German maestro became a key member of the Blues. He won the Premier League with them and brought a lot of composure and intelligence to the Blues midfield. Enjoying football in London, Ballack wanted to retire at Chelsea.
However, the Premier League club offered a one-year contract instead of the two years Ballack had hoped. Therefore, Ballack decided to return to Leverkusen in 2010.
He spent two years at the German club before retiring, despite hoping that he would play in the final days of the game with Chelsea again.
However, those things never came to fruition.
Chelsea have had some good Brazilian players playing for them and Willian is one of them.
The forward made several fine appearances alongside Shakhtar Donetsk and Anzhi Makhachkala, before joining the Blues in 2013.
Willian is a hard-working type of player, his attacking and defensive abilities are equally good. Willian played an important role in helping Chelsea win two Premier League titles.
The Brazilian decided to join Arsenal and felt regret once he learned that compatriot Thiago Silva would join the Blues.
That regret was compounded when the Blues won the Champions League earlier this summer. Indeed, Willian will not enjoy a long future at Chelsea. However, the Blues were still willing to give him a one-year extension, which he refused to sign.
Willian scored just one goal in 37 appearances across competitions for Arsenal during his stay at the Emirates. He now plays for Corinthians in Brazil.
2. Damien Duff
Damien Duff caught the attention of many clubs with his performances at Blackburn Rovers. In 2003, the Irish footballer moved to Chelsea to play under Claudio Ranieri.
Unfortunately, the Italian manager was immediately sacked and along came Jose Mourinho. Duff initially struggled to get regular playing time, but once he was given a chance by the Portuguese manager, he became a player to rely on.
With Arjen Robben on one wing and Duff on the other, Chelsea were very effective in attack, and won back-to-back Premier League titles.
In 2006, the Irish striker decided to join Newcastle United after a successful spell with the Blues.
“I cried the day I left Chelsea,”
1. Eden Hazard
Like many other players, Eden Hazard became the target of several top European clubs while playing for Lille. Among others, Manchester United even though Chelsea later became his anchor.
With his agile footwork, clever dribbling and his incredible ability to get past defenders, Hazard is a spectacular performer in the Premier League.
He won two league titles at Chelsea, with his best season coming in 2018/2019. He scored 16 goals and recorded 15 assists.
The following season, the Belgian striker joined Real Madrid. Despite winning La Liga in his first season with Los Blancos, Hazard had a hot time with the Spanish giants.
He has not been at his best with them and has struggled to be consistent due to repeated injuries. Meanwhile, Chelsea have won the Champions League. Without a shadow of a doubt, Hazard regrets leaving Stamford Bridge.