Chelsea have a rich history of buying talented African players and over the years, some brilliant players from the world’s second-largest continent have pulled on the blue shirt of Chelsea Football Club. Some of them have been instrumental in winning trophies while others have failed to live up to the hype.
Here are the five best African players to play for the Blues.
5. Victor Moses
When he was signed in 2012 from Wigan, the Nigeria international was a winger; however, under Antonio Conte, he has been transformed into one of the Premier League’s best wing-backs. The former Crystal Palace man was vital in Chelsea’s 2016/17 title-winning season, the first where Conte implemented his five-at-the-back approach and with Marcos Alonso on the left-hand side, they were almost impossible to beat down the flanks. A hamstring injury that Moses suffered in the shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace has kept him out of the squad in the last couple of months.
4. Salomon Kalou
The Ivorian forward must go down as one of the most underrated players in Chelsea’s modern history and with over 150 appearances in his six-year stint, Salomon Kalou became a fans’ favourite in West London and receives a hero’s welcome whenever he goes back. Despite many of his first-team chances coming off the bench, he was seen as a hard-working versatile winger with plenty of solid physical attributes. The 32-year-old started the 2012 UEFA Champions League and picked up a winner’s medal after being replaced by Fernando `Torres with five minutes left of normal time.
3. John Obi Mikel
After winning a bidding war against Manchester United in 2006, Chelsea signed Mikel from Lyon and the Nigerian defensive midfielder went on to become one of just 21 Blues players to make 350 appearances. He was often seen as a scapegoat if the results on the pitch weren’t up to standard but when he left to move to China, he was given the send-off he deserved. He certainly wasn’t known for his goalscoring exploits and with just six goals in over 350 matches, his only Premier League goal against Fulham in 2013 was celebrated as though he’d won a league title.
2. Michael Essien
He will go down as one of the best Chelsea midfielders of all-time and during his nine-year stay, there weren’t many better midfielders to grace the Stamford Bridge turf. The Ghanian maestro scored some fantastic goals in England and his ones against Arsenal and Barcelona will go down in history as two of the greatest goals ever scored at the Bridge. He definitely justified the world record fee (at the time) of £24.4 million that Chelsea payed Lyon in August 2005 and is very unlucky not to find himself top of this list. But there could only ever be one winner…
1. Didier Drogba
A legend in every sense of the word and easily one of the best Africans to ever play the game. The Ivorian striker’s best moment in a Chelsea shirt has to be when he scored the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League final after equalising in the 88th minute with a brilliant header. He had everything: pace, power and above all, an elite mentality. His willingness to succeed helped the Blues to so many victories in big games and his bullet header against Bayern Munich is one of the greatest moments of modern football history. Didier Drogba is not just the greatest African to play for Chelsea Football Club, but one of their greatest ever players.