Why Chelsea have ‘completed football’ under Roman Abramovich

Chelsea's triumph over Palmeiras meant that the Blues reached a major new milestone

Saturday saw Chelsea finally crowned Club World Cup champions when they beat Copa Libertadores kings Palmeiras 2-1 in extra-time in Abu Dhabi thanks to a Kai Havertz penalty. 

With the win, and by reversing a 2012 Club World Cup final loss to Corinthians, the Blues have now scooped every major competition on offer – an impressive feat that appeared unimaginable before Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich arrived in West London in 2003.

"I said congratulations, he said congratulations, and I said it's for you," coach Thomas Tuchel explained of an exchange with Abramovich post-match in Abu Dhabi.

"It's your club and it's your input and your passion that made this possible and we're happy to be part of it," Tuchel claimed to have stressed.

Owing to Abramovich's influence, Chelsea can take to their social media accounts and boast "we've won it all," joining just four other European outfits with such bragging rights in Juventus, Ajax, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

As the same can be said for United when Sir Alex Ferguson took over the reins, a look at Chelsea's honors list reveals a dramatic upturn in fortunes since Abramovich took over, and there have now been no fewer than 21 pieces of silverware brought to Stamford Bridge since he became owner.

Prior to Abramovich turning up, the Stamford Bridge club lived in the shadows of cross-city rivals Arsenal and northern foes like United and Liverpool, with just one English top flight win in 1955.

But with Jose Mourinho installed as manager, the Blues won the Premier League for the first time back-to-back in 2005 and 2006, as part of a total of five English top-tier titles under Abramovich thus far. 

Always thought of as more of a cup team before, Chelsea won the FA Cup three times pre-Abramovich before his ownership has made that eight; Chelsea won the EFL Cup twice before 2003, rising to five times since the Russian arrived; their Community Shield tally has doubled from two to four in the Roman era. 

On the continent, prior to Abramovich there were two wins in 1971 and 1998 in the now-defunct Cup Winners' Cup, and a sole 1998 victory in the UEFA Super Cup.

But shifting up a gear, Abramovich's tenure has delivered double joy in the UEFA Champions League in 2012 and 2021 (and the Super Cup again in 2021), as well as UEFA Europa League crowns in 2013 and 2019. 

As many pointed out after Saturday's maiden FIFA Club World Cup crown, Chelsea and Abramovich have effectively "completed football" with their trophy tally. 

Humble in March last year when probed on Chelsea's achievements under his reign, Abramovich said to the club's official site: "I think the trophies speak for themselves and show what we as a club have been able to achieve over these years, and it’s my goal for us to keep winning trophies going forward and build for the future.

"Chelsea has a very rich history, and I feel extremely fortunate to play a part in that. The club was here before me, and will be here after me, but my job is to ensure we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future," he concluded.

Abramovich posed with club captain Azpilicueta. © Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
Abramovich celebrated with the team in Abu Dhabi. © AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

Abramovich was also ruthlessly efficient in axing club legend Frank Lampard from the dugout midway through a campaign and appointing Tuchel to succeed him in January last year.

The masterstroke has ushered in this latest era of success, and Chelsea will now look to prolong a strong start to the decade by attempting to dethrone Manchester City as Premier League rulers in the coming seasons.

READ MORE: Chelsea win first Club World Cup title

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