The rules were simple: 5 bloggers, 4 rounds, snake draft. David picked first, then Yatco, Graham, André, and Rohaan. 20 goals in total.
All goals eligible except Didier Drogba’s equalizer in the 2012 Champions League final. Too obvious.
In reverse order, these are our favorite, greatest, bestest (however each of us interpreted the rules) Chelsea goals. You will probably disagree, but you’re probably wrong.
Claude Makélélé vs. Tottenham, 2006
For most of his career, Claude Makélélé was highly underrated. Not in England of course where an entire position was named after him, but certainly prior to his arrival at Chelsea, he did not get the recognition he deserved.
Makélélé went to Real Madrid as a 27-year-old, at the peak of his prowess. Florentino Perez’s (first) Galactico project was still in its infancy. Luis Figo arrived at the same time, in 2000, Zinedine Zidane in 2001 and Ronaldo in 2002. In such a star-studded lineup, which also included the likes of Raúl and Roberto Carlos, it’s incredibly easy to overlook and underrate the contributions of the defensive midfielder. Incredibly easy, but also extremely shortsighted, and, in this case, extremely stupid as well.
After a disagreement about terms for a new contract, with Makélélé seeking
parity at least 50 per cent of what the big stars were paid, Perez sold him off to Chelsea for a cool €20m, where Roman Abramovich was starting his own little project.
Perez, who would be forced to resign three trophy-less years later, said afterwards that Makélélé would be quickly forgotten in what has become of the more infamous football quotes of the past couple decades.
“We will not miss Makélelé. His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn’t a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres. Younger players will arrive who will cause Makélelé to be forgotten.”
-Florentino Perez; September 2003
However, one team’s gain is another team’s loss, and a 30-year-old Claude Makélélé would make tremendous impact and leave behind a lasting legacy at Chelsea.
Part of the incredibly talented and successful sides under José Mourinho Mk.I, he would play as the deepest of the three-man midfield, tasked with snuffing out enemy attacks (Makélélé the “ferocious midfield terrier”) and keeping the ball moving. Makélélé was always in the right position and his reading of the game was impeccable, but he also loved a tackle and took no prisoners. He was a major reason the 2004-05 Chelsea side still hold the Premier League record for fewest goals conceded in a season with 15.
As great as Makélélé was, he certainly wasn’t a goalscorer. That’s not exactly rare among deeper-lying midfielders (see: Mikel), but Makélélé took not-scoring to an artform. He had just four (4!) in the last eleven (11!) seasons of his career, spanning his time at Real Madrid, Chelsea, and PSG. He even managed to miss when presented with a penalty kick late in the 2004-05 season, though he did bundle in the rebound for his first Chelsea goal.
As ungraceful as that was, his second and final goal for Chelsea was an absolute wonder to behold.
The fact that it happened at
Three Point White Hart Lane made it even better. And while the outcome of the match spoiled the night overall — Spurs scraped past 10-man Chelsea, 2-1, with the help of a few controversial refereeing decisions for the first time since 1990 — we can choose to remember this day for the moment when Makélélé channeled his inner Zidane, one of those who certainly appreciated his fellow midfielder’s talents.
But in this case, it was Makélélé who was the proverbial gold paint on the Bentley.
It all started with a Chelsea corner that was directed towards John Terry. Ledley King however won the header and attempted to clear the ball. Fairly standard play so far. What happened next was anything but ordinary.
Stepping up from his covering position in midfield, Makélélé hit the ball on the bounce, made perfect contact, and unleashed a thunderbolt towards the Spurs goal. There were 13 players in the box at that moment. Not one of them could touch it, including Spurs goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
His teammates and coaches celebrating the goal speaks volumes. It was a collector’s item of the highest standard, of the rarest of rarities. A goal of immaculate technical ability. Wonder if Florentino Perez was watching?
Makélélé would not score another goal in his Chelsea career, and would in fact score just one more goal in the rest of his entire career. Perhaps he knew he could never top this one.
WAGNH’s Best and Most Beautifulest Chelsea Goals Draft 2020:
No. 15: Claude Makelele vs Tottenham Hotspur, 2006