In the last three decades, Chelsea Football Club has established itself as a major force at home and abroad. The Blues have had players who have played a big role in their recent successes and throughout the club’s history.
Some have served the south west London outfit for over a decade. Here are the top ten appearance makers for Chelsea:
Ron Harris (795 appearances from 1961–1980)
For nearly two decades, Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris played a vital role for the team from Stamford Bridge. Harris came through the youth ranks at Chelsea before helping the club to promotion to the English top flight in 1963.
During his Chelsea career, Harris helped the club to win promotion to the First Division in 1977, too. However, he will most likely be remembered best for helping the Blues win the European Cup Winner’s Cup in 1971 and the FA Cup in 1970. He was also part of the Chelsea team that won the 1965 League Cup.
After leaving Chelsea in 1980, he played with London rivals Brentford for just three more years. However, Harris will always be a favourite at Chelsea for his service to the club’s cause.
Peter Bonetti (729 appearances from 1959–1979)
The former England goalkeeper was a teammate of Ron Harris, representing the Blues with distinction for 20 years in two separate spells. Bonetti earned the nickname ‘The Cat’ for his superb reflexes while with the club.
Bonetti won the Youth Cup alongside Harris in 1960 while also playing a prominent role in the Blues’ promotions to the English top flight in 1963 and 1977. He also won the League Cup in 1965, the FA Cup in 1970 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971.
At international level, Bonetti won seven caps for England and was part of the England squad that won the World Cup in 1966. Unfortunately for ‘the cat’ like so many talented goalkeepers of his generation, his path to the England number one jersey was blocked by the legendary Gordon Banks.
John Terry (717 appearances from 1998–2017)
The centre-back is a modern-day Chelsea legend. The former England captain played for the Blues for 18 seasons, playing a massive role in the Blues’ most successful period in their history.
The list of trophies won during Terry’s Chelsea career is immense. The defender won the Premier League on five occasions, the FA Cup five times, and the League Cup three times, as well as winning the Champions League in 2012 and the Europa League in 2013.
As an individual, Terry won the PFA Players Player of the Year award in season 2004/05 while also being named in the PFA Team of the Year on five occasions.
Frank Lampard (648 from 2001–2014)
The attacking midfielder arrived from West Ham in 2001 for a fee of £11 million. Like Terry, Lampard played a significant role in the club’s most trophy-laden period. Not only is Lampard’s Chelsea record goalscorer with 212 goals, but he is also regarded as one the Blues’ greatest ever players.
Lampard’s spell with the south west London club was certainly trophy filled, as he helped the Blues to win the Premier League title on three occasions, the FA Cup four times, the League Cup twice, and the Champions League and the Europa League.
During his Chelsea career, Lampard won many individual awards, such as the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA fans’ Player of the Year awards in 2005. He was also named in the Premier League Team of the year on three occasions during his time with Chelsea.
When he finished playing, Lampard returned to manage the Blues from July 2019 until January 2021, when he was sacked with the team struggling for results in the Premier League.
John Hollins (592 appearances from 1963–1975 and 1983–1984)
Hollins made 592 appearances for the Blues in two separate spells at Stamford Bridge. The versatile full-back or defensive midfielder came through the club’s youth ranks before making his Chelsea debut at just 17 in 1963.
Hollins later captained the Blues and was part of the Chelsea side that won the League Cup in 1965 before winning the FA Cup in 1970 and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971.
When he retired from playing, Hollins moved into coaching and managed the Blues from 1985 until 1988, when he was sacked with his team fighting relegation.
Cesar Azpilicueta (501 appearances from 2012–)
The Spaniard made himself part of the furniture at Stamford Bridge after joining the Blues in 2012 from Marseille for £ 7 million. He proved to be a bargain, as the defender has been a Premier League champion and the Europa League twice, as well as winning the Champions League, League Cup and the FA Cup.
Azpilicueta has proven to be a highly reliable and versatile asset to the Blues. The Spaniard’s hard work was rewarded in season 2013/14 when he won the club’s Players’ Player of the year award.
Petr Cech (494 appearances from 2004–2015)
The giant Czech Republic goalkeeper joined Chelsea in 2004 from Rennes for £7 million. It turned out to be money well spent as Cech developed into one of the best goalkeepers in the world game.
Cech was another player from our list who enjoyed a trophy-laden Chelsea career, with his highlights being winning the English title on four occasions and the Champions League in 2012.
As an individual, Cech also won many awards, including winning the Premier League Golden Glove award a record four times. He remains the only goalkeeper in Premier League history to win the award with two different teams. The former Sparta Prague star was also named in the Premier League team of the season twice.
After retiring, Cech returned to the club as a technical and performance advisor in 2019. He left the role in June 2022.
Dennis Wise (445 appearances from 1990–2001)
The diminutive midfielder arrived from London rivals Wimbledon in 1990 for a then-club record of £1.6m. The tenacious star became a club stalwart for over a decade, helping the club return to winning ways in the 1990s. He also had the honour of captaining the Blues during his career at Stamford Bridge.
Although Wise arrived before the title-winning years, he still won the FA Cup twice, the League Cup, the Cup Winners’ Cup and also the European Super Cup. Ironically, Wise’s 11-year spell with the club came to an end when he joined Leicester for the same £1.6m fee he arrived for over a decade earlier.
Steve Clarke (421 appearances from 1987–1998)
The Scottish defender joined the Blues from St. Mirren in 1987 for a fee of around £422,000. Clarke was a solid performer for the Blues and was part of the team that won the FA Cup in 1997 and the double of League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup the following season.
Clarke later returned to the club as part of the backroom staff, first working with the youth team before also being a first-team coach and, arguably most notably, being an assistant head coach to Jose Mourinho.
Kerry Dixon (420 appearances from 1983–1992)
The forward arrived at Chelsea from Reading for an initial fee of £150,000 plus £250,000 if he ever represented England. Dixon established himself as a vital player during his nine-year stint with the Stamford Bridge club.
Dixon was prolific in both the Second Division and the First Division. His goals helped the Blues to win promotion to the top tier of English football on two occasions. Unlike some players on this list, he didn’t win any major silverware.
However, he remains a hero to Chelsea fans of a particular vintage and is still third on the list of Chelsea’s record-ever goalscorers.