Chelsea release a cluster of senior players

Mike Hewitt

They've also extended Matej Delac's contract and offered Milan Lalkovic a new one

Around this time every year, the Premier League clubs release the list of players who haven't had their contracts renewed and are therefore available on Bosman transfers. Today, we've had confirmation of five departures from the senior squad:

That's actually quite a high profile group of players who will be leaving Stamford Bridge (and to think, Frank Lampard might have been on there...). There's no real surprises though: Benayoun and Malouda had already confirmed they were leaving, while Paulo Ferreira was clearly on the way out in Chelsea's end of season shenanigans.

It's actually quite a vast loss of experience - particularly the Portuguese duo of Paulo and Hilario - the former was here since 2004, signing for Jose Mourinho but unfortunately missing out on the chance to play under him once again now his compatriot has returned to Stamford Bridge. Hilario, meanwhile, played for Chelsea since 2006. Well, not played - but warmed the bench to good effect. That shouldn't demean his contribution to the club, however - we must always thank him for reinforcing just how good Petr Cech is.

Meanwhile, Hilario's goalkeeping compatriot Ross Turnbull has also been released following a four year association with Chelsea - again, his most notable achievements at the club were to exemplify Petr Cech's greatness, although he is responsible for one of the more hilarious moments of the season.

Yossi Benayoun too was never too a particularly beloved Chelsea player, and his time here will unfortunately be tarnished by the disgusting racial hatred that dogged his infrequent appearances. The hatred wasn't always racially motivated, but it was still bizarre to hear him booed at the Bridge, seemingly for saying nice things about Fernando Torres and being mildly happy about Arsenal doing well while he was under their care. Frankly, I always found this negativity embarrassing - but what's done is done, and Benayoun will now be looking for a new club.

Finally, we have Florent Malouda. Graham touched upon this the other day but I feel like I should echo his message - we really didn't appreciate the Frenchman enough. Not only was he particularly special when firing on all cylinders, particularly under Carlo Ancelotti, he was always responsible for some of the most downright bizarre haircuts Stamford Bridge has ever seen. His treatment this season has been one of the more shameful footnotes in recent times, but hopefully now happier times are ahead for Flo Mo.

We've touched upon most of these exits already and we also have added confirmation of what Dermot Drummy told the officiial website a few weeks back, that Archange Nkumu and Aziz Deen-Conteh will also be released by the club. Both youngsters are now free to look for a new club.

Meanwhile, the Retained List also reveals a few other Chelsea-contract tidbits, including the news that Matej Delac has had his deal extended by the club. Again we've spoken about this before but in short, with Croatia joining the EU there's the very likely possibility that Delac will now stay at the club and help replace the sudden shortfall we have in the backup goalkeeper department. Meanwhile, the list says Milan Lalkovic has an offer from the club to stay, so his future at present is dependent on his decision.

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