History of Chelsea's Number 19
It seems like the departure of Diego Costa (probably back to Atletico Madrid) is imminent with the striker surplus to requirements according to Antonio Conte. The Brazilian-turned-Spaniard currently holds the number 19 at Stamford Bridge and the number is associated with a striker nowadays and Costa has worn the number throughout his career, turning down number 9 after Fernando Torres left Chelsea. There have been a few players who have worn 19 in Chelsea’s recent history from a range of positions.
We start with a fan favourite: Tore Andre Flo. The forward spent 3 years at Stamford Bridge around the turn of the century after joining from Norwegian side, Brann, for just £300,000 in 1997. Flo scored on his debut against Coventry and ended up with a century of goals during his Chelsea career. Memorable moments include a hat trick at White Hart Lane, a double against Barcelona and a brace at Old Trafford. Chelsea won the Cup Winners Cup, an FA Cup, a League Cup and secured their first ever qualification for the Champions League during Flo’s spell in West London. He was the club’s top scorer in the 1999/00 season but left shortly after when Chelsea bolstered their striking options.
During the Mourinho years it was 2 holding midfielders in Scott Parker and Lassana Diarra who wore the number 19 shirt. Parker signed from Charlton but only spent one season at Chelsea; his opportunities were limited in the 2004/05 Premier League winning team and he left for Newcastle in 2005 for a fee of £6.5m. Mourinho replaced him by signing Diarra for £1m from French side, Le Havre, but the youngster found it hard to break into the first team in his first season at Stamford Bridge but still won Young Player of the Year for the season. Diarra left for Arsenal in 2007 and went on to play at Portsmouth and Real Madrid.
After Diarra left, Paulo Ferreira swapped his number 20 for the 19 shirt and made 227 appearances for the Blues in the most successful period in the club’s history but was never a regular in the side for too long. Ferreira could play at both left-back and right-back and was part of the squad that won the Champions League in 2012 and he left the club with 3 Premier League winners medals, 4 FA Cups and 2 League Cups as well as European titles. Despite not being the most flamboyant or technical of players, he arguably left as a club legend.
After a season with cult hero, Demba Ba, the number 19 shirt found its way to Diego Costa after he joined from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2014 as Mourinho looked to build another Chelsea dynasty. Costa, with help from Cesc Fabregas, fired Chelsea to the title in his first season and has been the club’s top scorer in each season he has played for the Blues. Costa was one of the players blamed for the team’s downfall and Mourinho’s departure in 2015 but he regained his form under Guus Hiddink and then Antonio Conte the season after, again winning the Premier League with Chelsea. If Costa does leave then his tally of 58 Chelsea goals is a rather impressive one.