We’re back with the Chelsea Worst XI and this time we’ll be revealing the next piece of our twisted jigsaw puzzle – the fullbacks. There were quite a few deserving candidates but only two can be picked in our eleven.
So, shall we go ahead and have a look at our nominees and how they fared?
- Jose Bosingwa (30%)
- Christian Panucci (25%)
- Asier Del Horno (20%)
- Glen Johnson (15%)
- Yuri Zhirkov (10%)
The dynamic duo of Bosingwa and Panucci have stolen a march on their rivals to be crowned the fullback pairing for our Worst XI. Let’s find out more about the two.
Before The Blues
Jose Bosingwa had a Chelsea connection even before he moved to London. The Portuguese right-back played one season under Jose Mourinho at Porto, who left to manage Chelsea the very next year. Although featuring in only a handful of games, he managed to win his first Champions League during Mourinho’s final season in Portugal. Bosingwa kicked on in his second season at Porto on his way to becoming a mainstay at his club and the national side. This caught the attention of Chelsea who paid an eye-watering £16.3 million for his signature.
Christian Panucci came up through the youth ranks at Genoa before playing for European heavyweights such as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. In fact, he was the first Italian to wear the famous all white shirt. After being overlooked for the 1998 World Cup, Panucci realized the meaning of the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and decided to move back to Italy, hoping to get noticed by his national team manager. Things didn’t go according to plan as Panucci’s performances never hit the heights of his Madrid days. This opened a window for Chelsea to bring him in on loan.
The Chelsea Years
Let’s start with the Italian misfit first. Christian Panucci arrived in England, hoping to reignite a career that seemed to be going downhill. He’d had frequent run-ins with his coaches at Inter and it wasn’t any different at Chelsea. Ranieri would not stand for that sort of nonsense, especially when Panucci wasn’t exactly pulling up any trees during the time he got on the pitch. Simply put, Panucci’s spell at Chelsea was awful and no one was surprised when Chelsea sent him back to Inter at the first opportunity.
Almost a decade after Panucci left English shores, Jose Bosingwa arrived at Chelsea and immediately locked up the right-back position for himself. Many expected him to be an attacking outlet while providing defensive cover on the right for years to come. However, his limitations were frequently exposed as he struggled with lapses of concentration and regularly over-committed to attacks. Amusingly, some of Bosingwa’s best performances came as a makeshift centreback where he could not rely on instinct and had to focus on the job, such as his heroic effort against Barcelona in the 2012 Champions League semi-final. After winning his second Champions League in 2012, Bosingwa was on his merry way as Chelsea opted not to renew his contract.
After his Chelsea adventure ended, Jose Bosingwa spent an eventful season at Queens Park Rangers at the end of which both club and player decided to go their separate ways. Bosingwa was last seen re-signing with Trabzonspor in Turkey after he left them midway through his first contract.
Christian Panucci is now the manager of the national team of Albania, who made their much-awaited debut at Euro 2016. Let’s hope he gets along well with his players, now that he has swapped his boots for dress shoes.