Branislav Ivanovic was a crucial member of our defence during some of the most successful years in our history, and a player with a wonderful knack of popping up with goals at pivotal moments.
Signed in 2008, it took a while for the Serbian to get going but he truly announced his arrival on the scene with a legendary brace at Anfield in a Champions League quarter-final tie against regular European foes Liverpool.
The following campaign, 2009/10, Ivanovic’s discipline, decisiveness in the tackle and marauding forward runs from right-back earned him a spot in the PFA Team of the Year as we secured the Double for the very first time.
His versatility meant he was equally adept in the centre of defence as on the right, and he performed with incredible consistency in both positions. He was always highly valued by managers, team-mates and supporters alike, who recognised his exceptional commitment to the Chelsea cause, as well as his happy knack of finding the net.
It was Ivanovic who popped up with the amazing winning goal against Napoli when our run to Champions League glory in 2012 caught fire, and it was Ivanovic who headed the glorious injury-time winner in the Europa League final the following year.
Ivanovic was outstanding during the title-winning 2014/15 campaign and played all but a few minutes of the 38 games, again named in the Team of the Year.
He captained on occasion towards the end of his Chelsea career, testament to his leadership qualities and love for the club. In total he made 377 appearances during his nine years in west London, scoring 34 times.