Chelsea have always been known for having a number of hard tackling players over the years.
These tough-tackling players with no regard for their own well-being don’t always get the same credit as the more technical players, but they certainly have played their part in the clubs’ success over their 114-year history.
Here are Chelsea’s 10 hardest players in the history of the club.
10. Branislav Ivanovic 2008-2017
Ivanovic was a loyal servant for Chelsea during his 10 seasons at Stamford Bridge. The big Serbian international was a fearless full back who was always willing to give his all for the Blues.
The Serbian’s header in the 2013 Europa League final was the highlight of his time at the club.
9. Ruud Gullit 1995-1998
Ruud Gullit never had trouble commanding a dressing room and had the grit to go with his considerable amount of skill. This was the biggest reason he was appointed player-manager of the club just a year after joining in 1995.
The Dutch midfielder had already battled in the Netherlands and Italy and arrived in west London at the age of 32, but was still able to contribute immensely.
8. Graham Roberts 1988-1990
At every club he ever played for, Graham Roberts was always one of the toughest nuts to crack.
When asked who his hardest opponent was, Roberts simply replied: “I never worried about them being hard as I was hard myself.”
7. Petr Cech 2004-2015
Aside from being one of the best goalkeepers in Premier League history, Petr Cech is also one of the hardest. Cech earns his spot on this list due to his dedication to the game.
After suffering a potentially career-ending skull fracture, the Czech Republic international came back with his trademark helmet and never looked like he had lost any of his bravery or ability.
6. Didier Drogba 2004-2012, 2014-2015
Didier Drogba may have spent the early part of his Chelsea career rolling around on the floor after any bit of contact, but the Ivorian lead the line for the Blues against Europe’s most feared defences for over a decade.
After battling with the Bayern Munich defence in the 2012 Champions League final, Drogba found the ball at the near post and powered a header past Manuel Neuer to send the match into extra time. He then calmly converted his penalty to bag the win for the Blues in the biggest match in the clubs’ history.
5. Vinnie Jones 1991-1992
Vinnie Jones was part of Wimbledon’s ‘Crazy Gang’ in the late 1980s before joining Chelsea at the turn of the decade. Jones’ on-field tactics could be defined as little more than trying to beat his opponent into submission, something that regularly worked for the hard-nosed midfielder.
Based on his playing style, it is no surprise that Jones went on to play characters such as Bullet Tooth Tony, Mad Maynard, and The Boss on the big screen in Hollywood following his retirement from football.
4. Dennis Wise 1990-2001
Coming in at just 1.68 metres, Dennis Wise was never going to win his battles in the midfield purely on physicality alone. Despite his stature, Wise would spend 90 minutes snapping at opponents ankles and knees in an effort to win the ball.
Wise did not have the skill or physicality to be a top player in Europe, but his tenacity and fighting spirit made him a fan-favourite at Stamford Bridge for years. When you played against Wise, you would definitely feel it after the match.
3. Diego Costa 2014-2017
Costa cemented himself as one of the most hated players in the world during his three seasons at Chelsea. The big Brazilian-born striker was never one to back down from a challenge and would go toe-to-toe with any player.
Costa was a menace every time he stepped on the pitch for the Blues, and his mere presence would put defenders off their game. The 30-year-old striker managed to rack up 30 yellow cards and one red during his time at Stamford Bridge.
2. John Terry 1998-2017
John Terry is a legend at Chelsea for his leadership and dedication to the club, but nobody can forget that he is also one of the most aggressive players to put on a Chelsea kit. Terry would never shy away from a challenge and it would be impossible to count the number of times the captain put his body on the line for the team.
The greatest example of Terry’s fearlessness came against Arsenal in the 2007 League Cup when he was knocked unconscious by the size 13 boot of Abou Diaby, but managed to recover just in time to celebrate with his teammates post-match.
1. Ron Harris 1961-1980
Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris gets his nickname from his bone-crushing no-nonsense tackles that made him a club legend through the ’60s and ’70s. A centre-back by trade, Harris holds the club record with just shy of 800 appearances.
The Chopper was a true symbol of English football in the ’70s with referees generally giving the benefit of the doubt to the defenders of the era. Harris was a proper hard-man for the club and will always be looked at as one of the hardest players to lace up his boots for the Blues.