Sitting firmly amongst Chelsea’s exciting summer of recruitment is the free transfer signing of former Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva, the veteran having been recognised as one of world football’s best centre-backs for more than a decade.
Frank Lampard will hope the arrival of the experienced defender can add quality and experience to a backline which struggled for solidity last season, whilst Silva will have ambitions of following in a long line of his compatriots in making an impression in the Premier League.
Chelsea have been amongst the clubs to most notably invest in Brazilian talent throughout the Premier League era, and we’ve decided to look back at the 12 Samba stars to have played at Stamford Bridge:
The first Brazilian to play for Chelsea in the Premier League, Emerson Thome signed for the club from Sheffield Wednesday in the late nineties but largely struggled to make an impact at Stamford Bridge.
Thome made just 21 league appearances in a nine month spell as he struggled to dislodge the club’s first-choice central defensive partnership of Marcel Desailly and Frank Lebouef, later enjoying Premier League stints at the likes of Sunderland, Bolton and Wigan Athletic after departing Chelsea.
The Brazilian man mountain was forced to spend three seasons on loan at PSV Eindhoven following his arrival at Chelsea, eventually securing the work permit he required to strike fear into opposition forwards – and goalkeepers.
Alex was a powerful defender with a fearsome shot from distance, his penchant for the spectacular marking him out as a fans’ favourite throughout a four-and-a-half-year spell in the first-team.
On this day in 2009, Chelsea and Liverpool served up an eight-goal thriller at Stamford Bridge!
And Alex hit an absolute rocket!
📺 Highlights | 6pm | BT Sport 3 HD pic.twitter.com/vud0XDcF4Z
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 14, 2020
The centre-back provided a catalogue of thunderbastards from both open play and set-pieces, winning one Premier League title and two FA Cups before leaving the west London side to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.
Chelsea secured the signing of Juliano Belletti from Barcelona as the club sought to strengthen their options at full-back in 2007, the experienced star arriving after winning two league titles and the Champions League – scoring in the club’s final victory over Arsenal – during his time at the Camp Nou.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 17, 2016
Belletti proved a solid acquisition to the squad during three seasons in the Premier League, winning Chelsea’s Goal of the Season accolade during his debut season for a thumping effort against Tottenham, his reputation for stunning strikes endearing him to the Blues’ faithful.
The arrival of Jose Bosingwa reduced his first-team opportunities but his versatility proved important to Chelsea as the club won a domestic double in 2010, Belletti leaving at the end of that campaign to return to his native Brazil with Fluminense.
Chelsea fans will be hard pressed to remember Mineiro, the midfielder making just two first-team appearances during an entirely forgettable single season spell in west London.
Luiz Felipe Scolari signed his compatriot from Hertha Berlin as cover for the likes of Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel, but Mineiro was barely handed an opportunity amongst a talent-stacked Blues midfield before returning to the Bundesliga with Schalke.
Amongst the club’s finest South American signings, Ramires was a hugely important figure during a memorable six-year spell in English football that saw the midfielder win a host of major honours.
Ramires arrived from Benfica and instantly provided the Chelsea midfield with dynamism and endless energy, being named as the club’s Players’ Player of the Year after helping the west London side to an FA Cup and Champions League double during the 2011/12 campaign.
Premier League, League Cup and Europa League winners’ medals were also collected during a Blues career that delivered 33 goals – many of them vital – in 246 appearances, Ramires departing for the Chinese Super League as a popular figure amongst the Chelsea faithful.
David Luiz has long polarised opinion with his ability to both star and combust within the space of a single Premier League fixture, but the defender’s best years undoubtedly came over two spells with Chelsea.
Luiz first signed for the west London side from Benfica during the 2011 January transfer window, helping the club to Champions League and FA Cup success during his first half season in English football.
The centre-back added a Europa League medal before a spell with Paris Saint-Germain, later returning to Chelsea and adding more silverware to a burgeoning collection.
Luiz thrived as the centre-piece of Antonio Conte’s defence during the club’s title-winning season in 2017, adding second FA Cup and Europa League titles before joining Premier League rivals Arsenal last summer.
Regarded as one of the most promising talents in Brazilian football, Chelsea secured the signing of Oscar from Internacional and the youngster quickly made an impression in English football.
Technically gifted and creative, Oscar thrived in a number ten position and played an important role in two title-winning sides, making over 200 appearances for the club in all competitions.
A regular in the Brazilian national side, the prodigiously talented playmaker surprised many by opting to leave Chelsea for the Chinese Super League, a lucrative contract persuading the player to spend his peak years in the Far East with financial security for his family at the forefront of his decision.
Chelsea’s army of loan players has been well-documented in recent years and perhaps no player epitomises the club’s hoovering of young talent quite like Lucas Piazon, a player whose number of loan spells far outweighs his appearances for the Blues’ first-team.
Piazon moved to Stamford Bridge as a teenager in 2012 before embarking on a staggering seven loan spells, including temporary stints at both Reading and Fulham.
Incredibly, he remains a Chelsea player, though for how much longer remains to be seen.
Arguably the finest Brazilian to have played for Chelsea throughout the Premier League era, Willian spent seven seasons with the club and won a wealth of major honours, providing performances of consistent quality on the Blues’ right flank.
Named as Chelsea’s Players’ Player of the Season on two occasions, Willian played an influential role in two title-winning sides, in addition to lifting the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.
Willian regularly provided the side with an injection of work-rate and creative quality, whilst his threat from set-pieces was evident with a catalogue of fine free-kick efforts.
He departed for rivals Arsenal this summer on a free transfer, having scored 63 goals in 339 appearances.
Signed with a big reputation having formed part of a miserly back four at Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, it’s fair to say Filipe Luis’ move to Chelsea failed to work out.
The Brazil international struggled to adapt to the demands of the English game and spent just a single underwhelming season in the Premier League, falling behind Cesar Azplicueta in the pecking order before returning to Atletico.
Another player it may surprise to find is still technically a Chelsea player, Kenedy will return to Stamford Bridge this summer having completed his fourth loan spell since moving to the Premier League.
The winger has endured mixed fortunes during those temporary stints – spending time at both Watford and Newcastle – and looks unlikely to force his way into the first-team picture under Frank Lampard.
His five years at Chelsea has delivered just 15 league appearances and a solitary goal, Kenedy perhaps best served seeking a permanent exit this summer.
Once regarded as one of the best young forwards in world football, Alexandre Pato’s status had slipped considerably by the time he arrived at Chelsea during the 2016 January transfer window.
Pato had starred for AC Milan during his initial years in Italian football before injuries halted his progress, the forward rebuilding his career back in Brazil with Corinthians and Sao Paulo before heading to English football.
Pato scored from the penalty spot on his debut against Aston Villa but hopes of a revival proved a false dawn, he made just one further appearance for the club before signing for Villarreal.