As Chelsea prepare to open our Champions League campaign against Sevilla, we look back at some of our goalscoring heroes against Spanish opposition in years gone by. Who has been a pain to those from Spain most often?
The Blues have met sides from the La Liga on 40 occasions in UEFA competition, starting with a Cup Winners’ Cup triumph over Real Madrid, and Sevilla are set to become the eighth different side from Spain that we have met in a competitive European fixture.
With 58 goals to our name in those previous fixtures, there are plenty of goalscorers to discuss, so we’re limiting our selection to those who have scored two or more.
Eight players netted twice for Chelsea against Spanish sides and it’s a list that includes two of our all-time greats, plus a selection of cult heroes.
Peter Osgood is the first name that jumps out and he could hardly have chosen a grander stage to net his two. The final, plus the subsequent replay, of the 1971 European Cup Winners’ Cup featured goals from the King of Stamford Bridge.
Youth graduate Frank Sinclair was also on target twice in the ECWC, his efforts coming in the 1995 semi-final against Real Zaragoza and then in the 1998 quarter-finals versus Real Betis, helping the Blues lift the trophy in his final campaign at the club.
Gianfranco Zola also found the net in that memorable tie against Betis, which the matchday programme for the Sevilla game tonight looks back on in detail, and he doubled his tally verus Spanish sides with a sumptuous free-kick against Barcelona in our Champions League thriller back in 2000.
Speaking of Barca, goals against the Catalan giants are partially responsible for our next three entries on the list. Step forward Michael Essien, Ramires and Fernando Torres, each of whom netted Champions League semi-final goals that will live long in the memory.
Essien’s was the pick of the bunch – a blockbuster left-foot volley from miles out in 2009 – while Ramires’s cheeky chip gave us hope when all seemed lost in 2012. And then there’s Torres’s last-minute effort from that same game. If you really need us to describe that one, we fear you’ve come to the wrong website…
Salomon Kalou, who netted a brace against Atletico Madrid in 2009, and Joe Cole, who was on target in a famous win over Valencia at the Mestalla and against Real Betis, complete those who netted a brace v Spanish sides.
Next up, those who scored three. It’s a list that contains a name regularly seen on the scoresheet for the Blues, going right back to the start of our history in 1905 and all the way up to the present day: own goal.
Two of them came in ties against Barcelona early on in our Champions League journey, in 2005 and 2006 – the first netted by Juliano Belletti at Camp Nou, just a couple of years before he made the move to west London. Then there’s one by Correa of Atletico Madrid in a 4-0 win at the Bridge in 2009.
There’s only three names left on our list and the next won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Step forward Frank Lampard.
The Blues head coach was involved in nearly all our memorable tussles with Barcelona during the epic seven-year rivalry between the clubs and after netting in the famous win in 2005 that many regard as the best Chelsea game of all time, Super Frank netted two more against them.
Both goals came at Camp Nou and while the first was a penalty in a lost cause, the second was an outrageous chip from a tight angle that must go down as one of the best of Lampard’s 211 goals for the club.
He also found the back of the net versus Atletico Madrid and Valencia in group-stage matches played in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Just ahead of Lampard in the list of scorers against Spanish opposition is Tore Andre Flo, a man who scored exactly half his European tally in such fixtures.
His first goals on the continent for Chelsea came in a Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final in Seville, when he netted twice inside the first 12 minutes to give us the perfect start against Real Betis. The following season he was on target in our semi-final exit to Real Mallorca, netting four minutes after coming off the bench in the first leg.
Most memorably, however, he netted no fewer than three of our four goals across the two legs of a quarter-final tie with Barcelona in our maiden Champions League campaign, including one in Camp Nou which put us within seven minutes of a place in the last four. What might have been…
As much as we’d love to be able to spring a surprise on you for the man at the top of this list, let’s not kid ourselves: you already knew it was Didier Drogba!
The Ivorian is our all-time leading scorer in Europe, netting 36 times for the Blues – and a remarkable 10 of them came against Spanish sides.
Real Betis, Atletico Madrid (2), Barcelona (3) and Valencia (4) have all been on the receiving end of goals from the man who led us to Champions League glory in 2012 – some of the strikes were spectacular and others were crucial.
Of course, who can forget the turn and shot against Barca in the 2006/07 group stage, which was followed in the return match in Spain by a last-gasp equaliser to secure a point from an enthralling game.
His efforts in 2011/12 were just as memorable. Two goals against Valencia in our final group game helped secure qualification to the knockout stages, where he delivered one of his most important Chelsea goals with the only goal of the opening leg of our semi-final against Barcelona.
It seems Spanish sides, much like Arsenal, were delighted to see him finally leave Chelsea for good in 2015, but the damage had long been done…