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Paulo Ferreira leaves Chelsea after 18 years as player, coach, favorite person

Farewell, The Original Phantom

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Everton - Stamford Bridge Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

The first signing of the Roman Abramovich Era at Chelsea was a right back. His name was not Paulo Ferreira. It was Glen Johnson, and he would leave just a few years later.

Paulo, 25 at the time, was the first signing of the second season, 13th overall, but the first under José Mourinho (whom he followed over from FC Porto) and the football revolution that was to follow. Now, just as these most transformative two decades are ending, for not just the club, but English and world football in general, and we look forward to whatever may be next, we will be doing so without him as well.

Not that Ferreira’s departure has anything to do with Abramovich’s decision to sell, at least not overtly. Our former right back, left back, hair model, Phantom of the Opera, all-around chap, club ambassador, technical coach, and loanee liaison is moving back to Portugal to be closer to his family, including his son Diogo, who’s currently in the youth system at Estoril.

MK Dons v Chelsea XI - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Paulo retired from playing in 2013 (217 appearances, 9 seasons, 11 major trophies), and he’s almost unique amongst our heroes and legends of this era in the fact that he got to do so in a Chelsea shirt at Stamford Bridge. And then he stuck around in a non-playing capacity for another nine years after that, even, truly cementing his place in the club’s modern pantheon!

Current head of the Chelsea Loan Department, and former teammate, Carlo Cudicini posted a heartfelt goodbye to his friend on Instagram as well.

Thanks for everything, Paulo! Hope to see you back at the Bridge some day in the future.

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