By 90Min
February 12, 2018

Chelsea have officially announced the launch of a 'Legends' team that will reunite the stars of the club's famous 1998 team, winners of the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup all in the same year - a precursor to the Roman Abramovich era.

The Chelsea Legends team, featuring past stars such as Gianfranco Zola, Gianluca Villai, Dennis Wise, Graeme Le Saux and Tore Andre Flo, will play their first game against Inter Forever on 18th May at Stamford Bridge, with all proceeds to go to the Chelsea Foundation.

Inter launched their 'Forever' team earlier this year, and Javier Zanetti and Youri Djorkaeff, winners of the UEFA Cup in 1998, will be among those representing the Nerazzurri in London.

The Chelsea side of the mid to late 1990s was a hugely important one in the club's long and storied history. Prior to the golden year of 1998, Ruud Gullit had guided the team to FA Cup glory at the old Wembley Stadium - a first major trophy since 1970.

It kickstarted an era of improvement for Chelsea as the club began to challenge for the Premier League title, play in Europe and reach more major finals. That culminated with the purchase of the club by Abramovich in the summer of 2003, changing the landscape of English football.


"Coming to the club after the FA Cup win in '97, that whole era through to 2003 when I left, Gianfranco left and Roman bought the club, that was a pivotal period in the club's history," Le Saux, who was earlier a Chelsea player between 1987 and 1993, told

"The last game I played for Chelsea in 2003 against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge was the end of an era - it was Gianfranco's last game, Dennis and Gus [Poyet] had already gone. It was that year that Roman bought the club," he added.

"I've never asked him but it would be interesting to find out, whether he'd say or not I don't know, if that had any bearing on his decision, given that we pipped Liverpool to qualify for the Champions League."

Ben Radford/GettyImages

With players from France, Italy, Netherlands, Uruguay, Norway, Nigeria, Romania and Russia in the dressing room, as well as home nations players, Chelsea were arguably the first really internationally diverse squad that had been seen in the Premier League.

"There were so many nationalities but when we were all together we made sure that we all spoke English. We had all the wind-ups that you have at football clubs, where new players would come in and have to sing a song at lunch in front of everyone," Le Saux recalled.

"And we played wonderful football. I look at that team and we had our flaws, of course we did. We didn't manage to win the league, but we were a big game team. I always talk about the support structure of the club back then."

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