What happened to Chelsea's Champions League heroes of 2012?

The dugout duo battling relegation, one aspiring bodybuilder and an ex-goalkeeper calling the shots in the boardroom… what’s happened to Chelsea’s Champions League heroes 10 years on from miracle in Munich?

  • Chelsea won their first ever Champions League trophy ten years ago in 2012  
  • Didier Drogba score the decisive kick in the shootout to see off Bayern Munich
  • Many of the squad have now become coaches, with some rounding off careers 
  • Sportsmail looks at where Chelsea’s heroes are a decade on from their triumph

The miracle in Munich was a final chapter for an ageing Chelsea team who had won nearly everything – and on that famous night in the Allianz Arena they made an impossible dream become reality.

Looking back on that evening in Germany on May 19, the Blues weren’t given the faintest chance of upsetting the apple cart. They were playing against German giants Bayern Munich in their own backyard.

Going into the game, they were facing an injury crisis, on top of player suspensions to contend with, which affected Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Ramires and Raul Meireles. Meanwhile in the treatment room, Florent Malouda was only fit enough for the bench, while David Luiz and Gary Cahill overcame fitness tests to start right at the last minute.

All the signs pointed towards a Bayern ‘home’ win – and with Chelsea struggling after finishing sixth in the Premier League, this was their only hope of securing Champions League football again the following season. 

Ten years on from Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League triumph – where are the players now?

When Thomas Muller put Bayern ahead in the 83rd minute those pre-match predictions looked to be coming true – that was until Didier Drogba thumped in a header to take it to extra time. 

And after Arjen Robben’s penalty was saved before the game went to a shootout, it really seemed like Chelsea’s victory was written in the stars. Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger missed their kicks, and that man Droga slotted home to secure one of the most iconic moments in Chelsea’s history. 

But where are the Chelsea heroes from that incredible night? Sportsmail takes a look, ten years on from their triumph. 

Didier Drogba etched his name into history by scoring the equaliser and netting the decisive penalty in the shootout against Bayern Munich

Petr Cech

Chelsea technical and performance advisor

Adding on the Champions League success, Cech helped Chelsea add the Europa League to their collection at the end of that season, before going on to clinch the 2014-15 Premier League and League Cup in his final year at Stamford Bridge.

The legendary goalkeeper then spent four years with London rivals Arsenal, where he brought the curtain down on his iconic 20-year career in 2019.

After hanging up his gloves, he joined Frank Lampard in returning to Chelsea that summer, taking on an advisory role upstairs to assist his former team-mate as head coach.

Lampard only lasted 18 months in his position, but Cech still remains a key figure in SW6 alongside Roman Abramovich’s right-hand woman Marina Granovskaia.

Former No 1 goalkeeper Petr Cech is now the technical and performance advisor and has an influence in the club’s boardroom


Jose Bosingwa


Sign by Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2008, Bosingwa arrived from FC Porto, having been part of the famous Champions League winning squad under Jose Mourinho in 2004, and won the trophy for the second time in his career with the Blues eight years later. 

After his triumph with Chelsea, he would leave Stamford Bridge that summer, joining QPR on a free transfer – though his stint was marred with controversy as he was fined for refusing to sit on the bench for a game before being seen smiling in the dugout as the Hoops battled relegation.

He was released after they dropped down to the Championship, before seeing out the last three years of his career with Turkish side Trabzonspor. 

David Luiz

Plays for Flamengo 

The wild-haired centre-back has returned to Brazil after 15 years in European football. He signed for Flamengo in September 2021 after crossing the London divide to join Chelsea’s rivals Arsenal in 2019. 

Luiz was a long servant for Chelsea, playing nearly 150 times across two spells. He left for PSG two years after they won the Champions League, then returned to the Bridge in 2016, adding the Premier League title to his list of accolades.

He spent two years with Arsenal before heading back to Brazil, where he has featured just nine times since sealing his return to his home country. 

Charasmatic centre-back David Luiz joined Arsenal before turning to Brazil with Flamengo

Gary Cahill

Plays for Bournemouth 

Cahill, who had only joined the club 11 months earlier, went on to enjoy his best years in a Chelsea shirt under Benitez’s successor Mourinho and his eventual replacement Antonio Conte.

The former England centre-back was integral in Premier League title victories under both managers in 2014-15 and 2016-17 respectively, yet his Blues career ended on a sour note in 2019.

After being afforded a mere two league appearances by Maurizio Sarri in his final season, he spent another two years in the English top-flight with Crystal Palace before dropping down to the Championship at Bournemouth.

Cahill is still on the Cherries’ books today, where he is playing under former international team-mate Scott Parker.

Gary Cahill enjoyed great success with Chelsea before joining Bournemouth in the second tier 

Ashley Cole

Everton coach

Cole headed for Italy upon his departure from the Bridge two years after winning the Champions League, but when his form plummeted during a spell with Roma he jetted to the States to sign for LA Galaxy in January 2016.

He enjoyed three years in the US before returning to English football, reuniting with Lampard as one of the Derby manager’s experienced players at Pride Park.

After that short-term stint in the Championship, the ex-England international followed Lampard back to Chelsea to become an academy coach in 2019.

And on the back of his old team-mate’s appointment at Everton in January, Cole was hired as a first-team coach at Goodison Park shortly after. The coaching roles have been a great experience for his introduction into management – though he has had a tough start to life with the Toffees as they desperately battle relegation. 

Ashley Cole earned his status as a club legend at Chelsea before playing at Roma, LA Galaxy and then joining Lampard as a coach at Derby, Chelsea and Everton

Jon Obi Mikel

Free agent

The former Nigerian star was a trusted member of Chelsea’s midfield and a loyal servant to the club too – playing 372 times for the Blues and winning almost everything you can win as a player. Two Premier Leagues, three FA Cups, one League Cup, one Europa League and the Community Shield.

He finally left Chelsea in 2016 to try his luck in the Chinese Super League with Tianjin TEDA, staying for two seasons before returning to England with Middlesbrough in the Championship. 

Mikel also enjoyed a stint with Trabzonspor in Turkey before coming back to the Championship again with Stoke City. The last team he played for was Kuwait SC – but he only stayed for four months, playing five matches before he was released.

He is now 35 and is yet to officially confirm his retirement – currently a free agent.

Jon Obi Mikel became something of a journeyman after leaving Chelsea – playing in China, Turkey and Kuwait 

Frank Lampard

Everton manager

Lampard will always be seen as a Chelsea legend, even if he ended up playing for their title rivals Manchester City in 2014 – scoring the equaliser against them in a crucial showdown – after ending his 15-year stay at Stamford Bridge. 

He later joined City’s MLS sister club New York City, but stayed there for just one season, with his time Stateside blighted by injuries. 

Lampard then transitioned into management, narrowly missing out on Premier League promotion with Derby before taking up his dream job at Chelsea in 2019.

Frank Lampard played for Man City and in the MLS after leaving Chelsea in 2014, then became a manager for Derby, then for the Blues in 2019 and then joined Everton this year 

After finishing fourth and reaching the FA Cup final in his debut campaign, he was controversially sacked by the Blues amid a dismal run of form the following season.

The 43-year-old finally sealed a return to management with Everton at the end of January, winning 4-1 in his first game in charge against Brentford. But since then he has endured a difficult spell in charge of the team, who have been sliding closer to relegation. 

He has masterminded some huge wins over Man United, Leicester and former club Chelsea but the Toffees are still battling to keep their heads above water going into their final two games of the season. They are 16th currently, two points above Burnley in the final relegation spot. 

Salomon Kalou

Free agent 

Kalou hadn’t been a regular first choice player for Chelsea that season, but injuries and suspensions meant he was picked to start the final. He played 84 minutes before being subbed off for Fernando Torres, and it proved to be his final game for the club as he was released.

He ended his time in west London on a high after 234 appearances and 60 goals 

Lille were the team to snap him up, and he impressed in Ligue 1 by scoring 34 goals in 80 appearances. That form impressed Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga who paid a modest fee of around £2.5m to take him to Germany. 

Salomon Kalou left Chelsea for Lille but enjoyed some top form with German side Hertha Berlin

Berlin helped Kalou come alive towards the end of his career – spending six years with the team and becoming one of their top players. He netted 53 goals in 172 appearances – but his time at the club ended on a sour note.

He was filmed breaking social distancing rules in Germany – shaking hands with players in a clip and interrupting a medical check-up of another Hertha player. 

He was later released in summer 2020 before a one-season spell with Botafogo in Brazil’s top flight.

Juan Mata

Free agent 

The Spanish midfielder, Chelsea’s Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, was one of a host of stars ushered out of the Bridge by Mourinho in the summer of 2014.

At his best when given the licence to roam freely in attacking midfield, Mata failed to win Mourinho over as a No 10, with Brazilian star Oscar’s superior energy and aggression off the ball instead preferred.

As a result, Mata left the Blues at the end of that season and sealed a £37million transfer to rivals Manchester United, where he remains today.

Though while he has featured 277 times in his seven-and-a-half-year United stint, the 33-year-old became an Old Trafford outcast with no Premier League appearances under his belt this term – and he is set to leave on a free transfer this summer.

Juan Mata became an outcast at Chelsea before he spent nine years with Manchester United

Ryan Bertrand

Plays for Leicester

Then-manager Roberto Di Matteo raised a few eyebrows when he named Ryan Bertrand in his team for a Champions League final, given he had made just six starts in the league that season – and one in the Champions League.

But he delivered on the day and produced a solid display despite fears he might get trounced by the likes of Robben. He played 73 minutes, before coming off for Florent Malouda. He would stay at Chelsea for another two years – including a loan at Aston Villa – before earning his status as a first choice left back at Southampton.

He became a solid performer in the Premier League during his seven years at St Mary’s, earning a host of admirers, and last summer he linked up with Leicester City after leaving the Saints on a free transfer. 

Ryan Bertrand was one of the shock names in Chelsea’s starting XI in the final – he later joined Southampton and then Leicester City last summer

Didier Drogba

Phoenix Rising co-owner 

The hero of the night. Chelsea owe everything to Didier Drogba after he single-handedly dragged the Blues back into the game against Bayern by heading in the equaliser in the dying minutes, then stepped up to secure them the trophy from the penalty spot. 

That moment alone was enough to secure him legendary status – where is the statue? He was already a complete icon at the club, after firing in 157 goals in 341 appearances to lead them to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups, but this solidified his place in their history. 

He left the club that summer for a six-month stint with Shanghai Shenhua, then linked up with Galatasaray in the Turkish top flight. He spent one and a half seasons with them, before sealing a sensational return to Chelsea. 

His comeback was a successful one as he added one more Premier League and League Cup to his collection before joining Montreal Impact in the MLS. After two years there, he signed for Phoenix Rising in the American Soccer League – also becoming a co-owner of the club. 

Champions League final hero Drogba played in Turkey, China and the MLS before playing for and co-owning Phoenix Rising


Ross Turnbull – Chelsea scout: The former Middlesbrough man was mostly a reserve keeper for the Blues after his surprising move to join Chelsea in 2009. He played 19 times in four seasons and enjoyed plenty of success with the team despite not featuring too often. He later played for Doncaster, Barnsley and Leeds before hanging up the gloves. Leeds gave him a position as opposition goalkeeper analyst after he retired, then he took up a similar position with Chelsea in 2017. Then in 2021, the club offered him a role as a scout.

Fernando Torres – Atletico youth coach… and aspiring bodybuilder: The £50million striker added the Europa League to his trophy cabinet the year after the Champions League final, having played a key role in Chelsea’s march to the final against Bayern. 

Fernando Torres is now a coach with Atletico Madrid’s youth side – and look much bulkier after hanging up his boots

He was also on the scoresheet in the Europa final against Benfica after rediscovering his form under Rafa Benitez. He was in and out of the side under Mourinho the next year, rotating with fellow strikers Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o, before joining AC Milan on loan in 2014. After just six months with the Italian club, Torres returned to Atletico Madrid on loan the following January and eventually signed for his boyhood team permanently again in 2016.

He departed for a second time in 2018 to conclude his playing career with Japanese side Sagan Tosu, but after hanging up his boots the 37-year-old is now back at Atletico as manager of their Under 19s team.

Torres has also completed a remarkable body transformation since bowing out as a player, with the previously-slender striker acquiring a much more bulkier frame in retirement.

Paulo Ferreira – Coach: One of Chelsea’s longest-serving players and then spent a chunk of time as a coach too, the Portuguese former defender left Chelsea in March, ending an 18-year association with the club. Having arrived with Jose Mourinho from Porto in 2004, Ferreira 217 times for the club and won 14 trophies. He retired from football in 2013 and joined the coaching staff – working with loan players, before deciding to move back to Portugal to spend more time with his family. 

Michael Essien – FC Nordsjaelland coach: Another huge legend for Chelsea after 256 appearances, though the Champions League winning season was when his playing time started to become limited. He was sent on loan to Real Madrid the following season, then had one more campaign at the Bridge before joining AC Milan for two years. He saw out his career at Panathinaikos, Persib Bandung in Indonesia and Sabail FK in Azerbaijan. He is now a coach with FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark. 

Former midfield star Michael Essien left Chelsea for AC Milan before stints in Greece, Indonesia and Azerbaijan. He is now one of the coaches at FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark

Oriel Romeu – Plays for Southampton: Romeu never had much of a chance at Chelsea and was an unused substitute for the final, and had one more season with the club – with similarly restricting opportunities – before loan spells with Valencia and Stuttgart. He then joined Southampton for £5m in 2015, where he has been ever since. Across seven seasons, he has enjoyed regular minutes and has played more than 250 times for the Saints.

Florent Malouda – Retired: Malouda came on in the 73rd minute of the final and produced a solid display as Chelsea took Bayern to penalties. Like a lot of players in the squad, this game was to be Malouda’s last game for the club. He technically stayed on the books for the 2012-13 season but didn’t get his move until 2013-14, joining Trabzonspor on a free transfer. He became something of a journeyman as he also played for French side Metz, Indian side Delhi Dynamos, Egyptian outfit Wadi Degla and Luxembourg team FC Differdange 03. 

He also coached FC Zurich for about two months in 2019 – but he was sacked via a statement on social media that the former winger had no knowledge about. 

Florent Malouda played in France India, Egypt and Luxemboug after leaving Chelsea. He briefly coached FC Zurich before they sacked him on social media, without his knowledge

Daniel Sturridge – Plays for Perth Glory: Incredibly a two-time winner of the Champions League despite not playing a minute of either final, Sturridge struggled for game time at Chelsea but had contributed well in front of goal that season with 13 goals in all competitions. He played half of the next season before earning a move to Liverpool, where he took off – scoring 24 goals in the 2013-14 where the Reds battled for the title. After seven years at Anfield – including a loan at West Brom – he became the latest former Chelsea star to join Trabzonspor in 2019.

In 2020 he was banned from professional football for a year due to breaches of betting regulations, and then linked up with Perth Glory in Australia. He is yet to score for the club after six appearances.  

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