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Adrian Mutu still owes Chelsea €17m after losing latest appeal in court

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The 14-year saga of Mutu & Chelsea continues

Chelsea v Watford Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

Adrian Mutu was one of the first players to arrive at Stamford Bridge after Roman Abramovich founded Chelsea Football Club in June 2003, and he was also the one of the first to leave barely 14 months later. He was a young striker full of tremendous promise, who got off to a scintillating start, only to throw it all away in spectacular fashion.

He remains one of the very few players to ever get sacked by Chelsea in the club’s 113-year history, after failing a drugs test for cocaine. He was released by Chelsea in October 2004, but the saga was far from over. In fact, it was only beginning.

Mutu was fined and banned from football for seven months. He then turned up at Juventus (in a bit of a shady deal) for whom he played one season before switching to Fiorentina, where he found a couple seasons of consistent success. A long fade-out saw him spend time in France, Romania, and even India. He retired in 2016 at age 37.

During all that time, he’s been involved in a legal battle with Chelsea over compensation. Chelsea sued Mutu in early 2005 for breach of contract. The usual slate of appeals, counter-suits, and further appeals followed, but CAS, FIFA, and even the Swiss Federal Court all found Mutu liable for about €17m in damages owed to Chelsea. A few years ago, both Juventus and Livorno (the third party in the aforementioned shady deal) were dragged into it as well, but they won their appeal, placing the responsibility for the fine solely back on Mutu’s shoulders.

Mutu still had one appeal in the works, but as of earlier today, even that has been dismissed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The 39-year-old still owes the club €17m in damages. He’s unlikely to ever be able to pay it, but it’s the principle that counts.