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Roman Abramovich key moments: Bridge of highs

| 06.03.2022

Roman Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea is set to come to an end after the Russian-Israeli billionaire announced he was looking to sell the club.

Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and under his ownership the men’s first team have won 19 major titles.

Here, we take a look back at the Roman Abramovich key moments from his time at Stamford Bridge.

The Special One

Following the departure of manager Claudio Ranieri in the summer of 2004, Chelsea brought in Jose Mourinho who had just won the Champions League at Porto.

Jose Mourinho, Chelsea

Having proclaimed himself as “a special one”, the hungry young Portuguese coach soon built a squad capable of challenge for honours again – delivering the League Cup in 2005 which was followed by a first league championship title for Chelsea since 1955.

Mourinho guided the Blues to another Premier League crown in 2005-06 and went on to lift the FA Cup the following year with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United, the first at the new Wembley, courtesy of an extra-time goal from Didier Drogba.

Champions League slip

Following the departure of Mourinho in September 2007, Israeli Avram Grant took over in the dugout and that season took Chelsea to the Champions League final in Moscow, where they faced United and the match ended 1-1.

John Terry, Chelsea, penalty howlers

A costly slip by captain John Terry in the penalty shoot-out saw United go on to lift the trophy once again when Edwin van der Sar saved Nicolas Anelka’s spot-kick.

Double delight

Under Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea won a first double in 2009-10, scoring 103 goals on their way to the Premier League title and then lifting the FA Cup at Wembley with a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth.

Double European glory

With Roberto Di Matteo having taken over following Andre Villas-Boas’ ill-fated reign, Chelsea won the 2012 Champions League with a penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich in the final at the Allianz Arena.

Chelsea, Roman Abramovich key moments

Di Matteo, though, would soon depart as Chelsea failed to make it out of the group stages of the Champions League the following season.

Rafael Benitez took on the interim role and guided the Blues to Europa League success, beating Benfica in the 2013 final.

Trophies continue to flow

With Mourinho returning for a second spell at Stamford Bridge from June 2013, Chelsea claimed another Premier League title in 2015, finishing ahead of Manchester City and Arsenal, with only three defeats.

Guus Hiddink, who had won the 2009 FA Cup during a previous stint, eventually replaced Mourinho in December 2015.

The Dutchman went on to set a new record for the longest unbeaten streak as a new manager in the Premier League, going 12 games without defeat.

Italians keep success going

The 2016-17 campaign would see Chelsea win the title once more, this time under Antonio Conte, whose side also won the 2018 FA Cup final against Manchester United.

Antonio Conte, Chelsea, Roman Abramovich key moments

However, a fifth-placed finish in the league saw the Blues miss out on Champions League qualification – and Conte was sacked, with fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri taking charge.

Under Sarri, Chelsea were beaten by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final – where goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted off ahead of the penalty shoot-out – but would go on to win the Europa League with victory over Arsenal in Baku.

Lampard’s return

Sarri left for Juventus at the end of the 2018-19 season, and Abramovich turned to former midfielder Frank Lampard to guide the squad through a testing spell under a FIFA transfer ban, which was eventually reduced to one window following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In January 2021, Lampard’s time was up, with German Thomas Tuchel brought in on an 18-month contract.

Tuchel time

Although Chelsea were beaten in the FA Cup final by Leicester, the Blues would go on to lift the Champions League once again after a Tuchel tactical masterclass got the better of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City with a 1-0 victory in Porto.

Thiago Silva, Roman Abramovich

Chelsea’s triumph in the Club World Cup last month meant the Blues won every trophy the men’s senior team entered during Abramovich’s ownership.

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Author

Warren Barner