Chelsea Fc World Football Challenge

July 24, 2009|By Danielle Chazen

History

Edwardian businessman Henry Augustus Mears' vision of a Chelsea Football Club based out of West London, England, became a reality in 1905. Chelsea FC was elected to the English Premier League Second Division, becoming the first team to make the league without ever kicking a ball.

By the end of the club's second season, Chelsea FC was promoted to Division One; however, the club struggled in its early years.

Chelsea FC finally encountered success in 1955, when the team won the league championship in front of 75,000 fans.

The club earned the English title two more times, in 2005 and 2006. Chelsea won the FA Cup five times, the League Cup four times and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup twice. In 2008, it lost Europe's most esteemed competition, the UEFA Champions League Final, to Manchester United in overtime.

League

Last season, Chelsea FC finished third in the English Premier League with a record of 25-5-8. It is ranked seventh in the league.

Coach and key players

Carlo Ancelotti, the coach of AC Milan from 2001 until 2009, signed on to manage Chelsea FC on June 1. Ancelotti, 50, is one of the most admired and respected coaches in the game.

He resigned from AC Milan on May 31 after the team's 2-0 victory over ACF Fiorentina. He signed a three-year contract with Chelsea FC the next day.

Didier Drogba: Drogba, 31, is known for his aggressiveness, but his conduct on the field has often cost the team during important games. In the past season, he had 16 goals and five assists. Drogba, 6 feet 2, arrived at Chelsea in 2004 from Marseille.

Petr Cech: Cech, a 27-year-old goalkeeper, started 74 games and had 205 saves in the past season. At 6 feet 5 and 185 pounds, his size and skill have made him hard to beat. Cech recently signed a new contract with the club, committing to play until 2013.

Frank Lampard: Lampard, 31, is the club's top-scoring midfield player and seventh-highest scorer of all time. In the 2008-2009 season, Lampard, 6 feet, had 21 goals and 20 assists. He recently scored the second goal in a 2-0 win over Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders on Saturday. In four seasons, he scored 80 goals, all from midfield. In August 2008, he signed a five-year contract with Chelsea, making him the highest-paid player in the Premier League.

John Terry: Terry, 28, is the most successful captain in Chelsea FC history. Many experts believe Terry, 6 feet 2, is the best central defender in the sport. The most significant blip in his career came in 2008, when he missed a penalty goal for the win against Manchester United in the European Cup Final. He was named Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year in 2005.

Playing in the U.S.

Before facing his former team, AC Milan, at M&T Bank Stadium Friday, Ancelotti and the Blues defeated Inter Milan, 2-0, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday as part of the World Football Challenge. Drogba scored first, about 10 minutes into the game, and Lampard scored in the 50th minute.

Did you know?

* Cech plays matches with protective headgear because he fractured his skull in 2006, which greatly threatened his career and forced him to watch from the sideline for three months.

* Chelsea FC was founded in 1905 at a pub called The Rising Sun, now known as The Butcher's Hook.

* The song "Blue is the Colour" was released to pump up fans for the 1972 League Cup Final and featured the voices of the members of Chelsea's first team squad.

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