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Ranking the Best Chelsea Right Backs of All-Time

Updated: Mar 18

Ranking the Best Chelsea Right Backs of All-Time
Ranking the Best Chelsea Right Backs of All-Time

Chelsea Football Club has seen its fair share of legendary players grace the pitch over the years. From prolific goal-scorers to steadfast defenders, the West London club has built a rich history of memorable moments and iconic figures. Among these players, right-backs have held a special place, contributing immensely to Chelsea's success on domestic and international fronts.

From Ken Shellito, whose defensive prowess laid the foundation through the dynamic flair of Eddie McCreadie, to the modern stalwart Reece James, the tales of Chelsea's history are adorned with tales of remarkable right-backs whose contributions helped carve a unique path in football lore.

Below Are the Best Right-Back Legends in Chelsea FC's History

1. César Azpilicueta

César Azpilicueta cemented his legacy at Chelsea, notably succeeding John Terry as captain years after arriving from Marseille in 2012. With an impressive 349 Premier League appearances, he exemplified reliability and leadership, particularly excelling at right-back. His defensive prowess led to 115 clean sheets, while his 35 assists underscored his ability to create scoring opportunities despite primarily playing in defence.

Azpilicueta's contributions were crucial to Chelsea's successes during the later years of Roman Abramovich's era. Beyond statistics, his leadership and consistency made him a true Chelsea legend. Notable achievements before his spell ended in the summer of 2023 include:

  • Premier League titles: 2014–15, 2016–17

  • FA Cups: 2017–18, 2019–20, 2020–21, 2021–22

  • UEFA Champions League: 2020–21

  • UEFA Europa League: 2012–13, 2018–19

2. Branislav Ivanović

A powerhouse of a defender, Ivanović's time at Chelsea is etched in the club's history as one of its most successful periods. His physicality, aerial prowess, and ability to contribute crucial goals made him a beloved figure among fans. Ivanović's defensive tenacity and attacking threat played a vital role in Chelsea's triumphs, including memorable Premier League title wins and European success. With 261 appearances, 22 goals, and 20 assists in his nine-year spell from 2008 to 2017, Ivanović made his presence felt at Stamford Bridge. Notable achievements include:

  • Premier League: 2009–10, 2014–15, 2016–17

  • FA Cup: 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12

  • Football League Cup: 2014–15

  • FA Community Shield: 2009

  • UEFA Champions League: 2011–12

  • UEFA Europa League: 2012–13

3. Paulo Ferreira

Paulo Ferreira, renowned for his reliability and astute defensive qualities, emerged as a stalwart at right-back during his tenure at Chelsea. A disciplined full-back, Ferreira provided stability to the backline while contributing to attacking plays with quality crosses. His commitment to the team and top performances secured his distinguished place among Chelsea's greatest right-backs.

Ferreira made 141 league appearances for the Blues, assisting four goals and securing 56 clean sheets. His Chelsea journey began in 2004 when he reunited with Jose Mourinho, his former boss whom he had triumphed with... in the UEFA Champions League at Porto just months earlier. Ferreira's debut season was remarkable as he played a pivotal role in Chelsea's historic Premier League title win after a 50-year drought. Notable Achievements:

  • Premier League: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10

  • FA Cup: 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12

  • Football League Cup: 2004–05, 2006–07

  • FA Community Shield: 2005

  • UEFA Champions League: 2011–12

  • UEFA Europa League: 2012–13

4. Ken Shellito

A product of Chelsea's youth system, Shellito's legacy as a right-back for the club is cemented by his unwavering commitment and loyalty. He spent his entire playing career with the Blues and was instrumental in Tommy Docherty's re-built Chelsea side of the early 1960s. Shellito played a vital role in helping the club win promotion from the Second Division in the 1962–63 campaign. He demonstrated resilience and determination despite encountering challenges, including a knee injury.

However, the severity of his injury ultimately forced him to retire earlier than he would have liked. Nonetheless, his contributions to Chelsea's defence during the 1960s are fondly remembered, making him a true pioneer in the club's history.

5. Eddie McCreadie

A versatile Scottish player who could operate in multiple defensive positions, McCreadie's adaptability was a valuable asset for Chelsea. While primarily known as a left-back, his occasional forays into the right-back position showcased his defensive nous and work ethic. McCreadie's contributions during the 1960s and 1970s didn't go unnoticed, earning him a place among Chelsea's defensive stalwarts.

6. Steve Clarke

While primarily known for his coaching exploits in later years, Clarke enjoyed a respectable playing career, including a stint at right-back for Chelsea. Clarke's intelligence and reading of the game were evident even during his playing days, as he provided stability to Chelsea's defence when called upon. He spend over ten years [1987–1998] at the Bridge, playing over 300 games for the west London club. Though perhaps not as illustrious as other names, Clarke's contributions merit recognition. Clarke's notable achievements include:

  • FA Cup: 1996–97

  • Football League Cup: 1997–98

  • UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1997–98

7. Reece James

A rising star in Chelsea's ranks, James has quickly established himself as a formidable presence at right-back. Blessed with pace, power, and a wicked delivery, James poses a constant threat in attack while remaining resolute in defence. Despite his young age, James has already showcased immense potential, earning plaudits for his performances on the big stage. Over the past year, he has been plagued by injuries, but when he returns to fitness, Chelsea fans know what to expect from their current captain.

Notable statistics for James include a tackle success rate of 66%, winning 131 successful 50/50s, and prevailing in 123 aerial battles while losing 109. Additionally, his notable achievements so far include:

  • UEFA Champions League: 2020–21

  • UEFA Super Cup: 2021

  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2021

8. Albert Ferrer

Originating from Barcelona, Ferrer infused Chelsea's defensive line with a hint of Spanish finesse throughout his tenure in which he played 76 league games. Renowned for his adept technical skills and astute positional sense, Ferrer thrived in the right-back role, effortlessly adapting to the demands of English football. His debut season saw Chelsea secure qualification for their inaugural Champions League appearance, and his pivotal contributions were instrumental in clinching the FA Cup in 2000 under the guidance of Gianluca Vialli. His notable achievements include

  • FA Cup: 1999–2000

  • FA Community Shield: 2000

  • UEFA Super Cup: 1998

9. Jose Bosingwa

Jose Bosingwa, a standout right-back for Chelsea FC, made an impact during his tenure. From crucial goals to stellar defensive displays, his contributions were pivotal. Notably, his role in Chelsea's Champions League triumph in 2012 exemplified his importance. Bosingwa's impact cements his status among Chelsea's top right-backs of all-time. Trophies he won at Chelsea include:

10. Richard Peter Tudor Sillett

Richard Peter Tudor Sillett, affectionately known as Dick, was a standout right-back for Chelsea FC in the late 1940s. Renowned for his commitment and tactical know-how, Sillett played a pivotal role in the team's success, lifting trophies such as the First Division Championship in 1954-55 and the FA Charity Shield in 1955. His leadership and professionalism at Stamford Bridge was next to none and he remains an icon in Chelsea's history.

Bonus i - Glen Johnson

Although his time at Chelsea was relatively brief, Johnson's talent and potential were evident during his stint at right-back. Blessed with pace and attacking instincts, Johnson offered an offensive threat from the back, often linking up with the midfield to support Chelsea's attacks. While he may not have enjoyed an extended tenure at the club, Johnson's contributions from 2003 to 2009, during which he had loan spells, were noteworthy. Trophies he won at Chelsea include:

  • Premier League: 2004–05

  • Football League Cup: 2004–05

Bonus ii - Mario Melchiot

A dynamic presence on the right flank, Melchiot's time at Chelsea saw him establish himself as a reliable option at right-back. With his athleticism and ability to surge forward, Melchiot offered an added dimension to Chelsea's attack while remaining diligent in defence. He was part of the Blues that won the FA Charity Shield in 2000. His performances earned him a place in Chelsea's history, albeit overshadowed by other defensive greats.

In conclusion, Chelsea Football Club has been fortunate to witness the talents of numerous right-back legends throughout its history. From defensive stalwarts to attacking dynamos, these right-backs have left their mark on the club's legacy, securing their rightful places among Chelsea's greatest ever. As the club continues to evolve and thrive, the Blues fans worldwide will continue to celebrate the contributions of these right-back legends.

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