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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Tom Blow

13 Chelsea managers who served under Roman Abramovich and how they fared

Roman Abramovich announced he was selling Chelsea on Wednesday evening, marking the beginning of the end of his 19 years in charge of the Premier League outfit.

During that time, the Blues have won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, the Champions League twice and several other honours.

But they've also seen the back of 12 managers - including World Cup winners, European experts and English champions - and two caretakers in Ray Wilkins and Steve Holland.

Not all of Abramovich's appointments have been successful, although eight have managed to deliver a major trophy during their limited tenure at the helm.

Here, Mirror Football lists all 13 managers (minimum five games) to have led Chelsea during the Abramovich era.

Who is the greatest manager in Chelsea's history? Let us know in the comments below!

Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri was the first man to be given a huge transfer budget by Roman Abramovich (ALESSANDRO ABBONIZIO/AFP via Getty Images)

Ranieri was the man in charge when Abramovich first arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2003, immediately giving the Italian a huge transfer budget.

More than £120million was spent on the likes of Damien Duff, Joe Cole, Juan Sebastian Veron, Hernan Crespo and Claude Makelele - raising eyebrows in the Premier League.

Chelsea went on to have a great campaign in 2003-04, finishing second to Arsenal's "Invincibles" in the league and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Yet there was always a feeling Abramovich wanted a bigger name and few were surprised when Ranieri was dismissed in the summer of 2004.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho delivered Chelsea their first trophies of the Abramovich era (Getty Images)

Mourinho is undoubtedly the defining manager of the Abramovich era.

The Portuguese icon arrived at Stamford Bridge after winning the Champions League with Porto in May 2004, an unfavourable team at the time.

Due to that success, he insisted he was a "special one" on his arrival and didn't let the Chelsea fans down, winning the Premier League and EFL Cup in his first season at the helm.

The Blues eased to the league title the following campaign and added another EFL Cup and the FA Cup to their collection in 2006-07.

The Champions League, however, always remained out of Chelsea's grasp under Mourinho and his stunning departure followed in September 2007.

Mourinho returned to in the summer of 2013 for another two-and-a-half-year spell, adding a third Premier League title and EFL Cup to his Chelsea honours.

Avram Grant

Avram Grant failed to win a trophy during his brief spell at Chelsea (REUTERS)

Grant was an experienced manager and a personal friend of Abramovich when he was appointed Chelsea's director of football in the summer of 2007.

He was given the manager's job until the end of the season after Mourinho's departure and did a solid job, taking them to final of the EFL Cup and Champions League.

A trophy-less campaign, however, didn't go down well with Abramovich and he was sacked after their European defeat in Moscow to make way for a more established coach.

Luiz Felipe Scolari

Luiz Felipe Scolari was brutally sacked by Chelsea (PA)

World Cup-winning manager Scolari arrived at Chelsea with a glittering CV, yet his time in charge didn't go to plan.

The Brazilian was sacked after just seven months at the helm, despite sitting fourth in the Premier League and remaining in contention for the Champions League.

"It is a sign of the times," said Sir Alex Ferguson after Scolari's departure. "There is absolutely no patience in the world now.

"There was great expectation at Chelsea that they were going to do well this year - and it is only this last month they have had a bad spell.

"The judgment really is only on the last month."

Guus Hiddink

Guus Hiddink was twice brought in as interim manager by Abramovich (Getty Images Europe)

European Cup-winning coach Hiddink was next through the door, although his position as Russia's manager meant he could only accept the Chelsea role until the summer.

Despite this, Hiddink enjoyed success at Stamford Bridge - winning the FA Cup and guaranteeing Champions League football with a third-place finish.

The Dutchman was asked to step into the hot seat again in December 2015 when Mourinho was sacked, but he couldn't salvage their campaign this time around.

Chelsea finished 10th in the Premier League - their lowest position under Abramovich - and failed to challenge in all competitions.

Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti won a league and cup double with Chelsea but still got the sack (REUTERS)

Ancelotti completed a treble of trophies in his first season at Chelsea, winning the Community Shield, Premier League and FA Cup.

But it was tricky for the Italian - who was coming up against Ferguson's dominant Manchester United team - as he failed to repeat his achievements 12 months later.

Ancelotti was dismissed for Chelsea's lack of silverware in 2010-11. Boasting a win rate of 61.47 per cent, his sacking was arguably Abramovich's harshest.

Andre Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas was only 34 when he took the Chelsea job and clashed with players (Action Images)

Villas-Boas arrived at Stamford Bridge having been named European Coach of the Season for his heroics at Porto, winning four trophies - including the Europa League - in 2010-11.

His achievements at Porto saw him dubbed as the new Mourinho in the press, yet the 34-year-old failed to replicate his compatriot's success in west London.

Villas-Boas was sacked just nine months into the job, winning less than half of his games in charge. Rumours of dressing-room unrest plagued his final days at the club.

Roberto Di Matteo

Roberto Di Matteo delivered Chelsea's first Champions League title (Getty)

After Villas-Boas' sacking, his assistant and club legend Di Matteo was handed the job until the end of the season.

Di Matteo failed to improve results in the Premier League - as the Blues finished sixth - but few cared about that on May 19, 2012.

That evening, Di Matteo guided Chelsea to victory in the Champions League final - the first win in the club's history. He also won the FA Cup two weeks before for good measure.

Abramovich gave him the permanent job but it proved to be a bad decision, as Di Matteo was sacked just six months later after being knocked out of the Champions League.

Rafa Benitez

Abramovich stunned English football - and not for the first time - when former Liverpool manager Benitez was given the job until the end of the season.

The move was unpopular with fans but delivered success, as the Spaniard guided Chelsea to a third-place finish and the Europa League title.

That victory completed the set for the Blues, becoming one of a handful of clubs to win the Champions League, Europa League, Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

Despite this, Benitez made way for Mourinho's return at the end of the season.

Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte clashed with Chelsea's hierarchy (Getty Images)

Like Mourinho and Ancelotti, Conte had an immediate impact at Stamford Bridge - winning the Premier League and reaching the FA Cup final in his first season.

Despite going on to win the FA Cup the following campaign, Conte's side failed to finish in the top four and he was subsequently sacked.

It was arguably the messiest firing of the Abramovich era, as rumours of behind-the-scenes rows dominated his final year at the club. Few were surprised to see him go.

A legal battle between Chelsea and Conte followed, with the latter eventually winning £85,000 at an employment tribunal in January 2020.

When all was said and done, Conte's departure cost the Blues £26.6m.

Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri is the only manager of the Abramovich era to leave Chelsea for another club (Getty Images)

Sarri made history in June 2019, becoming the first manager of the Abramovich era to leave Chelsea for another club when he joined Juventus.

The Italian enjoyed a successful 12 months in charge of the Blues, winning the Europa League, finishing third in the Premier League and reaching the EFL Cup final.

Whether he was ever going to challenge for the biggest trophies at Chelsea, however, remains questionable.

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is a club legend at Chelsea... but still got the sack (Getty Images)

Lampard arrived at Stamford Bridge after guiding Derby County to the Championship play-off final the previous season. It was hardly the finest managerial CV.

But the Blues - under a transfer embargo - were willing to take a chance on the club legend, who won 11 major trophies at Chelsea during his playing days.

Lampard rewarded them during his first season in charge, guiding them to a fourth-place finish and the FA Cup final. It was an impressive start under tricky circumstances.

Chelsea's embargo was lifted ahead of his second term at the helm and they spent heavily, signing the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell.

Those signings failed to bring results, however, and Lampard was sacked in January 2021 with the team languishing in ninth.

Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel looks set to be the final manager of the Abramovich era (Getty Images)

The German could be the final manager of the Abramovich era, depending on how long it takes for a sale to be completed.

Tuchel has undoubtedly been one of the Russian's finest appointments, winning the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup during his 13 months in charge.

He's also reached the FA Cup and EFL Cup finals - and many will be backing Chelsea to win more silverware this season, beating Luton Town in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening.

What lies next for Tuchel, Chelsea, Abramovich and the people of Ukraine, however, remains unclear.

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