The number 10 is probably the most coveted shirt number in world football thanks to the list of honorable players who have donned it. The likes of Lionel Messi, Pele and Francesco Totti have all worn the number 10 at some point and are famous for it. Eden Hazard holds ‘his favourite number’ at the moment but who else in Chelsea blue has worn the lowest double-digit?
We’ll start off in 1970, Chelsea’s first FA Cup triumph in their history against Leeds, Ian Hutchinson wore the number 10 at Wembley and then in the replay at Old Trafford. At this time shirt numbers were chopped and changed for each game depending on who started but it happened to be Hutchinson who wore it for this famous game. Hutchinson joined Chelsea in 1968 and formed a formidable strike partnership with Blues legend Peter Osgood, they scored 53 goals between them in the 69/70 season. Hutchinson scored a late equaliser in the first game to send the final to a replay, he also bagged 44 goals in his 8 year stay at the Bridge before leaving for Cork United.
Moving into more recent times, Mark Hughes had possession of the number in the 90s, including in the 1997 FA Cup triumph. Hughes joined Chelsea from Manchester United in 1995, a move that will pop up later in this list in a different way, the Welshman scored 25 goals as a Chelsea player and has since gone on to become a manager at Premier League level most notably with Blackburn and Stoke. Another current manager who wore the number 10 at Chelsea is Slavisa Jokanovic, who is currently Fulham manager.
After a spell with Jokanovic and a season without an owner, young prodigy Joe Cole joined from West Ham in 2003 to take the famous jersey. He was one of Claudio Ranieri’s last signings as manager and one of Roman Abramovich’s first as owner. Cole wore number 10 for 7 seasons, winning 3 Premier League titles among other silverware under Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti. Cole also started in Chelsea’s first ever Champions League final in Moscow but he was subbed off in extra time for Nicolas Anelka and the rest is history.
Fans’ favourite Juan Mata took the batten off Cole and continued to help the club to more success. Mata started the 2012 Champions League final in Munich where Chelsea won the competition for the first time. Mata claimed the assist for Drogba’s late goal but was the only Chelsea player to miss in the shoot-out. The Spaniard won Player of the Year in both his full seasons with the club before being sold by Jose Mourinho to Manchester United in 2014.
After Mata’s departure, Eden Hazard swapped his number 17 for number 10, a number that he wore for Belgium and had worn during his time at Lille. Arguably, Chelsea’s greatest ever number 10, Hazard has won 2 Player of the Year awards, 1 PFA Player of the Year award, 2 Premier League titles and the League Cup since swapping his number. Hazard has continuously been linked with a move to Real Madrid but it looks like he will stay in England and add to his already impressive Chelsea goal tally of 72.
This list of number 10s may not be as prestigious as other clubs but it’s for certain that Chelsea haven’t wasted it on a mediocre player (apart from Yossi Benayoun).