Where Are They Now? 2012 Champion’s League Winning Squad
Where Are They Now? 2012 Champion’s League Winning Squad
Looking back at the Chelsea team that won Europe’s most prestigious club competition
Let me ask you a question: what would you say is the best Chelsea team of all-time? Some may say it was Mourinho’s 2004-2005 team that succeeded the Arsenal invincibles at the top of the league, others may say the 2009-2010 team that won the double and scored a Premier League record 103 goals over the course of the season, yet others point to our most recent championship in the 2014-2015 season.
What about me? To me, you can call something the best when it achieves a goal beyond the norm. When it goes above and beyond expectations. That is the story of the 2011-2012 Chelsea team who are the only team in club history to have won the UEFA Champions League. Chelsea weren’t just champions of England, they were champions of Europe. I personally remember watching that game and the litany of emotions felt during that day. Drogba in his last game, Robben’s missed penalty in extra time, the penalty kicks themselves, it was a hectic and beautiful day for fans of Chelsea.
A couple of weeks ago I was reliving the match and after seeing some of the old names that were on Chelsea shirts, I got to thinking about what happened to these guys. They will always be remembered as part of the team that brought the Blues European glory, but where have their careers taken them since? I figured this was a topic that intrigued fans other than myself and so I have taken it upon myself to research all 18 first team squad members that day in Bayern and where their careers have taken them now.
Honorable mention to John Terry: club legend, captain, and still current Chelsea player was suspended and did not make the squad. However, scenes of him celebrating with the rest of the team is something I will always remember.
GK: Petr Čech
A player who many consider the best goalkeeper in club history, Čech holds the club record for most clean sheets in all competitions. His performance in the final was outstanding, stopping numerous penalties both in the shootout itself and one in extra time. He signed a four-year contract in the immediate offseason and won two more cups with Chelsea (Europa League and League Cup). With the emergence of Thibaut Courtois, Čech was transferred to London rivals Arsenal for a reported fee of £10 million before the 2015-16 season. He currently remains the first-choice keeper for the Gunners.
RB: José Bosingwa
He played the full 120 minutes and received much praise for being able to keep Franck Ribery in check for much of the game. It would be his last game in a Chelsea shirt as he was told he could leave following his contract expiration. He played one season at QPR before leaving them and signing a contract with Turkish club Trabzonspor where he currently plays.
CB: David Luiz
Ah, how could one forget Luiz. The defender was thrust in to the starting lineup with Terry suspended and performed admirably. He was the first Chelsea player to score in the penalty shootout. His story is well known that he played a couple more seasons for Chelsea before transferring to PSG in 2014 for £50 million – still a world record for a defender. It took him less than two years to return to London however, as Antonio Conte picked him up this past summer for his second spell with Chelsea.
CB: Gary Cahill
Out of the 18 players that made the match day squad, only two are still currently with the club, and only one is a starter (remember, JT was suspended). Gary Cahill is that starter and has been for the past 4 years. He has endured his fair share of criticism, but seems to have adapted well to Conte’s 3 CB system. He continues to be a regular call up for England as well.
LB: Ashley Cole
At the peak of his career, many people believed Ashely Cole to be the best left back on the planet, myself included. He was certainly one of the best defenders of the generation. Like his fellow fullback on the other side, Bosingwa, Cole played a great game against Bayern, which included scoring in the penalty shootout. He played two more years for the Blues before his contract expired, at which point he signed for Roma in Serie A. After two years in Italy, Cole moved to the other side of the ocean and currently plies his trade for the LA Galaxy in MLS.
CDM: John Obi Mikel
Mikel is the second player of that match day squad to still belong with Chelsea today, although his role has been largely diminished under Antonio Conte. It is very likely that Mikel, who has been with this club since the 2006-07 season, has played his last game for Chelsea. Cracking a squad that has the likes of Fábregas, Oscar, Chalobah, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the bench is not an easy task, especially when Abramovich is pushing for more youth to break through.
CM: Frank Lampard
The club’s all-time goal scorer and who I consider to be the best Chelsea player of all-time. He was the captain against Bayern Munich and one of the successful penalty takers on the night. Seeing him lift that trophy, to put it simply, brought tears of joy to my eyes. He played for two more seasons with the club before his contract ultimately expired. What followed that is a bit of a controversy... Lampard announced he had signed for MLS expansion side New York City FC, but ended up playing in the Premier League with Manchester City (who happens to own NYCFC with the New York Yankees of MLB). If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, here's an article that covers it more in-depth. He is still plying his trade for NYCFC at 38 years old, teaming up with Andrea Pirlo and David Villa to form a star-studded lineup for an MLS team.
RW: Salomon Kalou
A speedy role player, Kalou did for Chelsea then what Pedro currently does now. He spent 6 years at the club, as he was yet another player whose contract was not renewed following that season. He signed on a free transfer to Lille in France where he spent the next couple of years. In 2014, he transferred to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga where he continues to play at the age of 31.
CAM: Juan Mata
His cross led to the game-tying goal by Drogba in the 88th minute. However, Mata will probably be remembered in that game for being the first Chelsea kick taker and missing. Mata continued to play and do relatively well under Di Matteo and Benitez. Unfortunately, he lost favor with Mourinho when “The Special One” returned for his second spell as Chelsea manager. José preferred Oscar instead of Mata in an attacking midfield role that led to Mata transferring to Manchester United for a fee of £37.1 million. In an ironic twist of fate, Mata has been reunited with José at Old Trafford. How their relationship will look like following the end of this season remains to be seen.
LW: Ryan Bertrand
One of Chelsea’s youth academy graduates that was sent out on multiple loans as Chelsea often does to their young players. A natural left back, he became the first player ever to make their Champions League debut in the final. Unfortunately for him, he picked up an injury and was substituted in the 73rd minute for Florent Malouda. He was once again sent out on loans the following two seasons to Aston Villa and then to Southampton. In 2015, he completed a permanent move to Southampton for a fee believed to be around £10 million where he is now their first team left back.
ST: Didier Drogba
Chelsea were down 1-0, time was running out, and who else would it be but Didier Drogba tying the game up in the 88th minute. Who else would it be scoring the winning penalty to win the title? Drobga is yet another one of the club’s legends, a player who will forever remain immortalized in Blues’ hearts.
He left after that season and played for both Shanghai Shenhua and Galatasaray S.K., but returned to Chelsea in 2014. He played one more season for the Blues before eventually signing a contract with the Montreal Impact in MLS. Recent events in Montreal have brought questions about his future to the forefront and it is good to note that there are reports Drogba is interested in returning to Chelsea as a coach. Should he do so, there is no doubt he will be welcomed with open arms.
GK: Ross Turnbull
He was released by Chelsea in June of 2013. He bounced around teams in England’s lower divisions before signing with Leeds United in 2015. Later that year, he broke his ankle and hasn’t played since even though he remains signed with the team.
FB: Paulo Ferreira
The man whose words will remain forever immortalized in the intro of the London Is Blue podcast, he played just one more game after the Champions League final in a substitute appearance against Everton. He retired after 2013 and currently works for the club as an ambassador and assistant loan player technical coach.
MF: Michael Essien
One of the more lovable players to play at Chelsea in the past decade, he won praise for his work ethic and ability to shut down opposing attacking midfielders. The Champions League final was the last game he would be in the Chelsea squad, as he was loaned out the Real Madrid for the following season. He subsequently played for AC Milan and Panathinaikos F.C., but he hasn’t played yet this season.
MF: Oriol Romeu
Yet another young player whose career in the Chelsea first team never took off. He was loaned out to Valencia and Stuttgart before eventually transferring to Southampton in 2015 for a reported fee of just £5 million.
MF: Florent Malouda
He started the final as a substitute and came on in the 73rd minute to replace the injured Ryan Bertrand. Following the match, Malouda requested a transfer away from London. A number of teams expressed interest in signing him, but none of them were willing to pay Florent the wages he was demanding. He trained with Chelsea’s under-21 team until his contract ran out. After stints with Trabzonspor and Metz, he joined the Delhi Dynamos of the Indian Super League. He is now currently on loan at Egyptian side Wadi Degla.
ST: Daniel Sturridge
A once very promising player at the club who was seen by some to be the heir to Drogba’s throne, but it unfortunately never materialized. Sturridge had so many injuries that hit him hard the following season that he couldn’t get any consistent playing time. Once Di Matteo was sacked and Benitez came in, his departure was inevitable. He transferred to Liverpool for a fee of £12 million. He’s gone on to have a few good seasons here and there and he is currently a substitute for the Reds.
ST: Fernando Torres
You either hate him or love him. The controversial striker is known for both his successful spell at Liverpool and the litany of embarrassing misses and failures in front of goal for Chelsea. He played two more seasons at Chelsea following the Champions League win, either delighting or frustrating fans depending on his performance. He then spent time on loan at AC Milan and back at Atlético Madrid before his move to Madrid was made permanent. He still plays for them at the age of 32.
About the author
Navaneeth Ravichandran, @navrav28
Navaneeth is currently a university student at UBC in Vancouver, Canada. He enjoys many sports other than football, especially a passion for ice hockey, as almost every Canadian does. He has been a Blues fan since 2007 and will continue to be a loyal fan till the day he dies.