Roman Abramovich changed the landscape of football in March 2003 with the purchase of English Premier League club Chelsea.
Little was known about the Russian billionaire at the time, but the Blues immediately started implementing a plan on becoming a worldwide brand and a successful football club.
After finishing second in the Premier League under Claudio Ranieiri, in came Jose Mourinho the following summer. The Portuguese manager had just shocked the world by winning the UEFA Champions League with FC Porto.
Numerous big money signings came that summer too, including Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben, Petr Cech and Ricardo Carvalho. Claude Makelele, Damien Duff, Joe Cole, Hernan Crespo and Juan Sebastian Veron had all arrived the previous summer.
The Premier League title followed that season and the following. To date, Chelsea have now been champions of England on six occasions. They also became the first and only London club to win the Champions League, defeating Bayern Munich in their own backyard in 2012. The following year they won the Europa League, and again in 2019.
Today, Chelsea are one of the biggest football clubs in the world, and Mr Abramovich continues to spend his money. They spent over £200 million in the transfer window last summer – more than any other side that qualified for this season’s Champions League.
Prior to that, the West London club’s only English top flight title had come all the way back in 1955. Though they had had more success in cup competition – three FA Cup successes and two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups.
The Blues are into the semi-finals of this season’s Champions League, although are on the outside looking in on the Premier League top four, one point behind West Ham United. The dismissal of Frank Lampard at the end of January proved to be positive Chelsea news for their fans, as Thomas Tuchel has done a great job to date.
As well as being in the Champions League semi-finals versus Real Madrid later this month, they will also face Leicester City in next month’s FA Cup final.
Historically, Arsenal are London’s biggest club. Their 13 English league titles is only bettered by Manchester United (20) and Liverpool (19). They have not been as successful as the Blues on the European front though, with just the 1994 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. They have lost each of the three European trophies at least once each since.