Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has started his Chelsea career wearing a protective mask during matches – but, as our recent past has shown, he is not the only one. Here is our squad of previously masked Blues…

Back in 1993, at the end of the first Premier League season, there was a major hoo-hah in the English press. Paul Gascoigne, AKA Gazza, had broken his cheekbone and planned to play for England in the end-of-season internationals wearing a carbon-fibre mask. The facial protection was dubbed the ‘Gazz-mask’ and he was likened to the Phantom of the Opera.

Nowadays, we do not think anything of it when players don a mask to continue playing after suffering a facial injury, whether it is to protect a broken nose or damage to the cheek or jaw. In fact, just from the past decade or so alone, we have been able to put together a pretty tidy squad of 14 players who have been masked up on Chelsea duty…

Petr Cech

The club’s greatest-ever goalkeeper can take his place in our line-up after a collision against Blackburn Rovers in 2011 resulted in a face mask being added to the head guard he wore for the majority of his Blues career.

Paulo Ferreira

There have probably been better Christmases for Ferreira than the one of 2011, when he spent Christmas Eve being fitted for a mask after suffering a fractured cheekbone following a clash with Gareth Bale.

John Terry

A bad challenge by Clint Dempsey in a rare fiery west-London derby left our Captain, Leader, Legend requiring a mask to protect a fractured cheekbone. It happened in the third minute of a game versus Fulham in 2007 and he lasted until half-time before making way.

Gary Cahill

It was not so much a case of third time lucky for our centre-back in 2015, whose nose was busted open when he scored in a pre-season game v Barca. Further incidents in games against Arsenal and Man City at the start of the campaign saw his nose broken in two further places!

Andreas Christensen

The Dane took a stray elbow to the nose from Anthony Martial in our 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in February 2020. But he was back in action again soon after for our Champions League tie with Bayern Munich, albeit with a bit of extra protection.

Toni Rudiger

Rudiger was one of the star men in our run to Champions League glory in 2021, producing a performance for the ages in the final against Manchester City while wearing a mask to protect his face following a collision with Real Madrid’s Alvaro Odriozola. He still had it on throughout June while on international duty at Euro 2020.

Cesar Azpilicueta

Clearly Azpi learned a little too much from JT, as he put his head on the line just as Crystal Palace’s Fraizer Campbell prepared to kick the ball. Instead, the connection was flush with Azpi’s head, resulting in a double fracture to his cheekbone and a spell in a mask.


Just in case you did not recognise Ramires after Galatasaray’s Burak Yilmaz broke his nose in 2014, the Brazilian midfielder put a handy reminder on his new facial attire!

Cesc Fabregas

Many of you may remember Charlie Adam’s wonder goal against the Blues from inside his own half in 2015, but it is easily forgotten that he probably should not have been on the pitch to score it after smashing Fabregas in the face with his forearm. Cesc was wearing the mask shortly after that when he scored a crucial winner at QPR.

Nemanja Matic

Members of our 2014/15 title-winning midfield did not fare well when it came to keeping their facial features intact, as Matic completes the trio following a double fracture to the nose in 2015. Still, he put the mask to good use by putting his kids’ names on it!

Fernando Torres

Zorres became the striker’s new nickname from team-mate Juan Mata after he spent seven weeks in a mask due to a broken nose suffered against Steaua Bucharest in 2013. It proved to be something of a good luck charm for the Spaniard during our run to Europa League glory.

Demba Ba

Another who took a stray boot to the face – and, to add insult to injury, Ba suffered his broken nose at the ground of his former club, Newcastle United, in a 3-2 defeat. His old team-mate Fabricio Coloccini was the player who ‘welcomed’ him back to St James’ Park in February 2013…

Diego Costa

The Spain international was the fourth Blue to require a mask in the 2015/16 campaign, leading interim boss Guus Hiddink to say: ‘We’re a Zorro team!’ This was a little different from the others on this list, however, as he suffered it following a training-ground collision with an Academy player: Fikayo Tomori!


After the run of appalling luck with facial injuries between 2013 and ’15, Pedro’s pre-season injury against Arsenal three years ago was the last time one of our players featured in a mask prior to Christensen’s recent incident.