There is a plethora of talent from Portugal that has played in England and most predominately the premier league. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Nani are just a small account of Portuguese nationals that have proved their worth and showcased their talent in the Premier League. We have signed 14 Portuguese players over the years and I have judged and ranked these players in terms of their time at Chelsea and not success related to other clubs they may have played for.
14 = Eduardo
In the summer of 2016, Eduardo Carvalho was signed on a one-year deal. The experienced goalkeeper was brought in to slot in as the 3rd choice behind Courtois and Begovic. Eduardo played a grand total of 0 senior matches for Chelsea and therefore did not receive a Premier League winners’ medal due to lack of games. During his 3 year stay at Chelsea, Eduardo only went out on loan once to Vitesse in the Eredvisie. On 1st July 2019, Eduardo finally parted ways with Chelsea with even some diehard Chelsea supporters having absolutely no idea who the man was. He joined Braga in his home nation of Portugal and only featured 9 more times before announcing his retirement from professional football.
13 = Filipe Oliveira
The relatively unknown teenager ‘Filipe Oliveira’ was signed to Chelsea for a relatively large sum of £500,000 in 2002. Featuring for just one minute in his debut against Manchester United and only accumulating 77 minutes of playing time throughout his whole career at Chelsea, Oliveira fell victim to the Chelsea loan cycle where he would be trapped for 4 years. A loan to Preston North End and Marítimo followed and a mutual agreement for him to be released occurred. A player who could play in virtually any position on the pitch, it was a true shame that Filipe Oliveira never achieved anything of substance as he failed to register a single goal for the whole time he was at Chelsea. Oliveira eventually signed for Marítimo and immediately began to play first team football again.
12 = Fábio Paím
When Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Manchester United in the early stages of his career, he uttered the words to the media “If you think I’m good, just wait until you see Fábio Paím”. Fame and especially fortune got to the young talents head and the player contracted to Sporting would join Chelsea on a short term loan deal in 2008. Lasting little over 4 months in West London, Paím’s loan spell was over and he had little to show for this stint. According to many websites, Paím featured for the Chelsea reserves but there is not much proof of this even happening. By December rolled around, the 20 year old was shipped back to Portugal and his career entered turmoil. Various loan spells and short term deals at low level clubs meant the supposed wonderkid would never reach anywhere near that standard ever in his career. Fábio Paím is now 33 years old and his footballing journey ended in 2018 with the reserves of Leixoes B.
11 = Nuno Morais
The defensive midfielder was signed from the Penafiel Youth setup in 2004 after a successful trial period. Nuno’s career went down a similar path to that of Filipe Oliveira, as they would only be given minimal minutes in the league and would sometimes feature as a rarity in cup competitions. The main highlight of Nuno’s time at Chelsea would have to be a 90 minute performance against the mighty Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup. 2 years later in 2006, Nuno joined Oliveira on loan in Marítimo. Returning from the loan in 2007, Morais was still not getting the minutes he desired and was consequently granted a move to Cyprus powerhouse Apoel FC on a free transfer.
10 = Ricardo Quaresma
The eloquent skillful player we have all come to know in Quaresma was not what we got in 2009. A ridiculous decision in 2009 saw us signing Quaresma from Inter Milan on a short term loan deal, just a season after he was awarded with the notorious ‘Bidone d’oro’ which translates to the ‘Golden Bin’… This was an award given out to the most dissapointing player in the Serie A for the 07/08 season. Quaresma only ended up playing 5 games for Chelsea in all competitions (4 appearances in the Premier League and 1 appearance in the FA Cup). During his one and only FA Cup appearance, Quaresma provided his only assist in a Chelsea shirt to Alex against Coventry.
9 = Fabio Ferreira
Ferreira was a part of Sporting CP’s youth academy and when he was 16, he had allegedly trained with Chelsea illegally. The 2005 training session hosted by Chelsea included the 16-year-old Ferreira and Sporting CP made a formal complaint to FIFA regarding the issue. Nothing ended up happening about the complaint and the right sided attacker joined Chelsea for free the next year after the incident. Ferreira played 12 times for our reserves, netting himself 8 goals. Despite the opposition, Fabio Ferreira looked like quite the prospect as 0.66 goals per game as a right winger was quite an impressive number. Still just a teen when he was in the reserves, Ferreira was sent out on loan to Oldham Athletic on a one month deal that was later extended to two months. Fabio only made one appearance for the Latics and was sent back to the Bridge following a disappointing two-month stint. This loan spell sent alarm bells
ringing at Chelsea about if his performances in the reserves were a fluke and Chelsea decided to release Ferreira in the summer of 2009. He went for a trial at league two side Gillingham and was turned away, this lead the once promising talent all the way back to his home nation and into the Portuguese 3rd division with Esmoriz.
8 = Maniche
A 28-year-old central midfielder by the name of Maniche was loaned from Dynamo Moscow in January 2006 to the Blues. The Portuguese connection to Mourinho was a driving factor related to this transfer and the midfielder in his late 20’s was brought in quite questionably due to the strength already present in the rock-solid midfield. Despite being part of the 05/06 Premier League winning squad, Maniche had a nightmare start to his Chelsea career and that foreshadowed the rest of his time in West London. His first league start came against West Ham United in April of 2006 and he made his mark immediately in the league by smashing a wayward shot from 6 yards out against the crossbar in the opening minutes of the London derby. Missing an open goal was not the most of his worries, as in the 17th minute Maniche was shown a straight red card, no doubt leaving Mourinho in a blistering fit of rage. Battling with the likes of Frank Lampard and Makelele for a starting spot, Maniche only played 8 league games during his tenure at the Bridge and Chelsea denied the offer to sign him for £5m after the loan period was up and Maniche returned to Dynamo Moscow.
7 = Hilario
Hilario was another Portuguese goalkeeper that was signed, but this time it was under his former Porto boss Jose Mourinho. In the summer of 2006, Hilario was signed to be the 3rd choice goalie under Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini. Due to injuries sustained to both goalkeeper’s in front of him against Reading (Petr Cech’s injury that lead to him wearing a protective helmet for the rest of his career), Hilario was handed a starting spot in the Chelsea line-up. His competitive debut for Chelsea came in a 1-0 win against Barcelona of all teams at Stamford Bridge. Hilario made 18 appearances that season and kept a clean sheet in 8 of those matches. After Cech recovered and was back to full fitness, Hilario would only find himself in the starting line-up if it was truly needed and spent a lot of his time on the bench from here on out. In June 2011, 35-year-old Hilario was granted a one-year contract extension. Hilario miraculously survived so long at the club that when his contract was finally due to run out, Mourinho returned for his second tenure at the club and somehow Hilario signed yet another contract extension. On 23rd May 2014, 38-year-old Hilario was finally released from Chelsea. 8 years at the club, only left him with 39 senior games played. Just 2 years later, Hilario was back at Chelsea, this time enjoying the role of assisting goalkeeping coach. When Lampard took over, he kept Hilario as part of the staff and Thomas Tuchel has followed the trend and decided to also keep Hilario at Stamford Bridge.
6 = Tiago
Tiago arrived at the club with a hefty price tag of £15m, Mourinho continued his outrageous spending spree that was the 04/05 summer transfer window, and this marked his sixth signing of that year. Tiago only spent one season at the club but was a regular starter during his time in West London. 51 appearances in one season for the central midfielder saw his Chelsea career flash by as the next season the arrival of Michael Essien thawed his chances of being in the starting line-up. Tiago amassed 7 goal involvements in the 04/05 season in the league and was a key part of what led Chelsea to one of the greatest Premier League title wins ever. Only losing 1 game the whole of the 04/05 Premier League season saw Tiago leave the Bridge with a 97%-win percentage in the league. In August 2005, Tiago joined Lyon and was a part of their league winning side of the 05/06 season. Short and sweet is the perfect way to explain Tiago’s successful Chelsea tenure.
5 = Raul Meireles
Due to an injury sustained by Michael Essien -that would side-line him for a long stretch of time- Raul Meireles was signed on a 4-year deal from Liverpool for a fee of around £12million. The Premier League experience that Meireles possessed would come in handy as we waited for Essien to return to full fitness. Occupying the number 16 shirt, Meireles chipped in with numerous important goals in big matches. He would score his first league goal against Manchester City in December 2011, scraping us to a 2-1 win. One of his best performances in the blue came against Leicester in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. In the thumping 5-2 win at Stamford Bridge, Meireles contributed 2 assists and scored a goal himself to carry us forward and eventually win the competition. Of course, his most memorable moment in a Chelsea shirt was on an April night against Benfica. That legendary counterattack that eventually led to Meireles scoring an absolute screamer in front of the Shed End in the last minute to help us continue in the Champions League. Although he missed the Champions League final through suspension (just like John Terry and Ivanovic), he would receive a winner’s medal after the best moment in Chelsea history. Meireles’ ability to score clutch goals and step up in the biggest of occasions truly encapsulated his stint at Chelsea. Every team needs a player to show up in the big moments and Meireles turned out to be that player in that infamous 2011-12 season. Although he only spent a year and a bit at Stamford Bridge, he will always be remembered by the Chelsea faithful for his important goals and contributions throughout that time.
4 = Deco
Luiz Felipe Scolari (through his connections with the Portuguese national team) signed the former Porto and Barcelona midfielder for £8million in the summer of 2008. Surprisingly, this signing happened 4 years after this exact transfer was almost set-in stone with even Deco announcing on a radio station that he would be signing for Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. Unlike Maniche, Deco had a blinding start to his Chelsea career, with a 30-yard screamer to help the side to a 4-0 whitewash of Portsmouth. A free kick stunner against Wigan accumulated in Deco being awarded the coveted player of the month award for the month of August. All was going well until the start of February 2009. Scolari was sacked after 7 months in charge and a few poor performances found Deco left out of the starting 11. In the June of that same year, Deco announced “I do not want to say”. Frequent radio appearances and controversial quotes left Deco unfavourable to be picked anytime soon in the starting 11. It was Carlo Ancelotti who completely changed the mindset of the midfielder in his early 30’s. Injuries hindered Deco becoming an even better player at Chelsea but despite the reoccurring injuries, he was an integral part in Chelsea winning the double in 09/10. Deco and the club itself came to an agreement to let Deco move to Brazilian club Fluminense on a free transfer. In an interview with the Sun, Deco said, “I want to go back to Brazil” and “I want to be near to my kids”. I believe that if Deco had stayed longer in West London that he would be higher on this list but due to the short extent of his career at Chelsea he is ranked 4th.
3 = Jose Bosingwa
Luiz Felipe Scolari yet again decided to splash the cash on another player he was familiar with, this time being a Champions League winner in Jose Bosingwa. The experienced right back, who was still only entering his prime, was brought in for a fee of around £18 million. Bosingwa signed a three-year deal and was signed at the same time as fellow countryman Deco. He also made his debut alongside Deco in the 4-0 win against Portsmouth. A few months after signing, Bosingwa was involved in a collision with Benayoun where Bosingwa intentionally kicked him with his studs up directly into his back. Controversy and injury ruled Bosingwa out for a long stretch of time and consequently meant he would not be able to compete at the 2010 World Cup. One of Bosingwa’s greatest moments in a Chelsea shirt was the great performance he put in against Barcelona in the semi-final of the 11/12 Champions League campaign. Bosingwa replaced Gary Cahill after a matter of minutes and had to slot in at centre back. Some people claim that the defensive performance displayed that night was the “biggest bus ever parked” and Bosingwa dealt with the Barcelona team rifling with talent such as Messi, Iniesta and Fabregas seamlessly. Another impressive defensive performance occurred in the Final against Bayern Munich in their own backyard also. Bosingwa played in his natural position of right back in this game and kept Franck Ribery quiet on the left flank. 120 minutes of solid defending and Chelsea were rewarded with the greatest achievement in all of football, a Champions League trophy. Strangely, Bosingwa would leave the club for free as Chelsea told him he could leave when his contract was up. There was never really a reason as to why Bosingwa was given permission to leave and why he was not given another contract as a reward for his excellent service in two monumental games. Bosingwa will never been forgotten for his impressive performances against two of the biggest clubs in world football and just like Meireles, he performed when his team needed him most.
2 = Paulo Ferreira
In the summer of 2004, Mourinho decided to bring the 25-year-old who he had managed at Porto to Champions League triumph, over to West London. The fee of around £13million was a record at the time for a right back in English football and Mourinho thought that Ferreira was the man to help him achieve success in England as they had in Portugal. In his first season at the club, Ferreira was introduced to the starting 11 where he would join the likes of John Terry and William Gallas in the greatest defence in Premier League history. His 29 appearances helped Chelsea to only concede 15 goals all season. Not the kind of attacking full back we are used to seeing in football nowadays, Ferreira only scored 2 goals over his entire Chelsea career and assisted 7 times. Never exactly the standout player, Mourinho credited Ferreira as “a player who will never be man of the match but will always score 7/10 for his individual display”. Ferreira only managed to feature in two matches in the legendary 11/12 Champions League campaign and was an unused substitute in the final against Bayern Munich. The summer of 2013 spelt the end of Ferreira’s time at Stamford Bridge as the club and himself agreed to let the contract run out. In the last few years of his time at the club, Ferreira was rarely featured in the starting line-up and was used as a senior player for the dressing room. However, this does not distract us from the plethora of silverware Ferreira accumulated over his 9 seasons at the Bridge. 3 Premier League titles, 1 Champions League, 3 FA Cups and 2 League Cups. Ferreira will be deemed as an important servant in Chelsea’s history as he was there throughout many great times at the club and always put in a great performance when he was granted the opportunity. The sheer amount of time he spent at the club grants him a high place on this list as he continuously gave his all when needed and truly loved the club. Ferreira retired after a standing ovation at Stamford Bridge on 19th May 2013 and will be remembered for generations to come.
1 = Ricardo Carvalho
Carvalho was another Portuguese national brought in by Jose Mourinho alongside Paulo Ferreira. The fee of around £20million was fully justified by his prior performances in the Champions League winning campaign in 03/04 and was rated as one of the best centre backs at Euro 2004. His first season was immaculate by all standards and adjusted greatly to the ways of the Premier League. Carvalho was an integral part of the legendary 04/05 Premier League team and his partnership with Englishman John Terry will forever be known as one of the greatest centre back pairing in Premier League history. In 2007, Carvalho was rewarded with a 5-year contract which was fully justified with his outstanding performances that helped Chelsea achieve two Premier League titles in two years. Regardless of Mourinho leaving in the 07/08 season, his stellar performances continued to reign supreme as he was a main factor in Chelsea getting to the Champions League final, that we eventually lost on penalties. He was awarded Chelsea’s Player’s Player of the year for his incredible work during that season. Injury and a suspected move to Inter Milan to reunite with Mourinho nearly halted his Chelsea career. However, the defender (now in his 30’s) decided to stay at Chelsea under new boss Carlo Ancelotti. Carvalho’s career was given an extra spark due to the new management as he made an impeccable start by contributing with a goal in the Community Shield against Manchester United. Chelsea went on to win this game on penalties and it added to the abundance of silverware already in his collection. More injuries later in that season unfortunately spelt the end of his time at Chelsea as he went on to win his third Premier League title in the year we won the double. In his 6 year stay at Chelsea, Carvalho played 210 matches in all competitions and achieved a staggering 2.20 points per game over this period. To add to his 3 Premier League trophies, Carvalho also won 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and a Community Shield. The combination of raw strength and spectacular technical ability meant Carvalho was destined for success in the Premier League and he certainly exceeded expectations. Hard hitting with a tremendous footballing IQ, Carvalho always wore his heart on his sleeve and gave his all for the team. Whenever Carvalho was playing, you knew not to expect many opposition goals and he kept numerous legends of the Premier League quiet in front of goal. Carvalho is an unsung hero of the club as his ridiculous number of trophies and winners’ medals is not nearly spoken about enough. A classic centre back that was tough as nails alongside the great John Terry led to Chelsea only conceding 15 goals in 38 games. Whether he was alongside Terry or not, you could always expect a tough night for strikers when they came up against Ricardo Carvalho.
Written by Frankie.