Over the last decade Chelsea Football Club has experienced unprecedented success. Through this time, the club has lifted every major trophy that England and Europe has to offer. In the core of these triumphs are Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. Since 2004 the spine of the team has remained somewhat constant and has provided the club with a strong leadership group both on and off the pitch.
Through Abramovich’s tenure as owner, coaches have come and gone at the bridge but because of these individuals and their influence with everyone at the club, the team has remained together and fresh through all these changes. Some teams might not have been able to deal with the issues Chelsea have over the past decade but having a strong leadership group has ensured that stability and morale remained strong within the squad.
Given that each of these players have had their disciplinary issues in their careers off the field, on the field if you asked anyone that has played alongside them for either club or country most will explain that their personalities and leadership are unquestionable.
But like everything else in life, in football there is always an end, and it is fair to ask where the next set of Chelsea leaders will come from. The previous leaders have implemented a certain type of culture and identity at the club and at the moment with the so called transition period it is imperative to determine the next leaders immediately so that they can learn from the current ones.
The question remains; what qualities should a Chelsea leader have? The best players don’t necessarily mean the best leaders. Currently Chelsea has four stand out leaders;
When purchased in January 2012 many around the club thought that he would be the next Chelsea captain after John Terry’s tenure. The way he commands the back four resembles that of the current blues captain. He is loud, expressive and strong. He is the same type of defender as Terry, and understands the English game well.
Furthermore being a centre back helps his cause as it seems to be the best choice position for captains, look at Maldini, Hierro and Cannavarro, from this position you can see everything and is the easiest spot on the field to bark instructions from.
Apart from his character on the field he is quite the model professional off it. He seems to have a timid personality and does not exploit himself with the distractions of being a professional footballer in London. He is a family man and that side of his persona is what he should introduce to the squad.
The fans love and adore him, not only is he what many believe as the best player in a Chelsea shirt, he is also the one of the classiest. He is constantly great both on and off the field. On the pitch he lets his actions do the talking often contributing with a crucial goal or an assist. He also communicates well with other players which enables him to link the play consistently.
Furthermore, judging from reports around the club and his social media accounts, he is quite a cultured person. He seems to regard the arts and writing as his hobbies. After every match he writes a blog, not only about the game but also the results in other leagues, he is not only a footballer but also a student of football.
He has a high IQ and is currently undertaking a marketing course at University. His demeanour resembles more of a Frank Lampard as he is much calmer and lets his play dictate the team. Also, coming from a non-English speaking country, his English in the last two years has improved immensely which allows him to communicate with the squad quite well. His rapid improvement in English shows his commitment to his team and his club.
Viewed as Chelsea’s hard man in defence Branislav Ivanovic’s character was moulded by his humble beginnings that trace back to his hometown of Srem in Serbia. Through his years in the Premier League, he has proven to be a handy and reliable defender for the club.
A natural centre back Ivanovic has played most of his career at the Bridge at right back. He is an emotional type of player that does not stay down and fearlessly attacks every ball. He stays away from the spotlight and is very professional in how he conducts himself off the field.
The Serbian wears his emotions on his sleeve; he rarely loses his temper and does not lash out on the referee, the opposition or more importantly his teammates. On the occasions that he does lose his temper he does so to himself.
His composure, professionalism and emotion are great qualities that all great leaders have. He is also the captain of the national team and therefore his experience there will add to his attributes to become Chelsea captain.
In addition his English is fair and is able to speak and bark instructions to his teammates when needed.
A few months after his move from Benfica in 2011 Luiz’s actions on and off the field led to him being earmarked around the club as one of Chelsea’s future leaders. Even current club captain John Terry endorsed him as the next Chelsea captain.
His character is infectious and reports around the club say that he is loved by his team. He makes sure that both staff and teammates feel comfortable on and off the training pitch by his jokey approach to everyday agendas.
Having said that it’s his ability to switch between when and when not to be serious that makes him a unique individual. He might be seen as a joker off the field but on the field his fierce nature evolves which is evident when he plays.
Luiz is a natural born leader and throughout his career has always led sides that he has played in. At just 21 years of age he was already captain of a Benfica side that had some players over the age of 30. His traits on the field were very similar of a young John Terry who captained Chelsea at 24. He is vocal, inspiring and most importantly commanding. His physical presence and movement dignifies what a strong captain from the back must have.
Although it must be stated that his English is not as strong and would therefore have some trouble communicating specific instructions to his teammates but through time this will improve. Furthermore his composure can be his downfall as sometimes he lets his emotions in the way though if he finds a way around this issue he would prove to be a great leader.
It must be a comforting thought for the club’s hierarchy that there are definitely individuals on the roster who are well capable of taking the armband and leading the team through to the next phase.
Just like the previous generation the next leadership group which should constitute these players listed should all work as one to change the culture and perception of the club and lead Chelsea Football Club to greatness over the next decade.