Chelsea and Manchester City met in the third all-English Champions League final in 2020/21, a fixture that saw the west Londoners crowned champions of Europe for a second time.
Thomas Tuchel had taken over Chelsea mid-season, but led the club to a shock Champions League success after upsetting favourites Manchester City in Porto.
Chelsea’s win extended City’s wait for a maiden Champions League success and we’ve decided to look back and remember the club’s victorious side.
Remembering the Chelsea XI that beat Man City in the 2021 Champions League final.
Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy
The Senegal international signed for Chelsea from Rennes the previous summer and was a key performer during the club’s run to Champions League success. Mendy made a smart save from Raheem Sterling in the final and ended the game with a clean sheet as Chelsea were crowned champions.
Mendy was named as UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season and The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper after Chelsea’s success, but has since fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge. His nine clean sheets equalled the record for a single Champions League season, alongside Santiago Canizares (2000/01) and Keylor Navas (2015/16).
Centre-back: Cesar Azpilicueta
Chelsea’s reliable captain hoisted aloft the Champions League trophy after forming part of a backline who frustrated Manchester City at the Estádio do Dragão.
The Spaniard started on the right of Chelsea’s back three and made one crucial intervention to clear a Riyad Mahrez cross.
🔵 Cesar Azpilicueta’s trophy collection at Chelsea:
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 5, 2022
Azpilicueta has made more than 500 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea, with no non-English player having ever made more. He has won every available major honour with the club and also captained side to Europa League (2019) and Club World Cup (2021) success.
Centre-back: Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva’s final did not go as planned after the Brazilian defender left the pitch in tears after sustaining a first-half groin issue. Silva had formed part of the PSG team beaten in the previous year’s final and must have feared the worst when he was substituted after 39 minutes.
Fortunately for Silva, Chelsea won the final and one of the best defenders of his generation celebrated Champions League success. His replacement. Andreas Christensen, produced a faultless performance at centre-back.
Centre-back: Antonio Rudiger
Antonio Rudiger was instrumental to Chelsea’s success as the defender continued a fine run of form under Thomas Tuchel.
The German made a goal-saving challenge to deny Phil Foden and soldiered on late in the game when carrying an injury. Rudiger had been out of favour before Tuchel’s appointment, but returned to the side under his compatriot to be a key figure in Chelsea’s Champions League win.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) June 2, 2021
He made 203 appearances across five seasons at Chelsea before departing to sign for Real Madrid on a free transfer in 2022.
Right wing-back: Reece James
Reece James won his first silverware as a Chelsea player as the club claimed the Champions League in 2020/21.
The academy product started at right wing-back and recovered from an early scare after losing Raheem Sterling to produce an accomplished performance. James worked hard, won duels and got forward well when required.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 8, 2022
He has since developed into one of the most effective wing-back options in European football.
Left wing-back: Ben Chilwell
Chelsea spent £45m to sign Ben Chilwell from Leicester and the left-back ended his debut season with a Champions League winners’ medal.
Chilwell was chosen ahead of Marcos Alonso for the final and justified his inclusion with an energetic display down the left, venturing forward to provide width to Chelsea’s counter-attack and proving a useful outlet throughout.
Defensively he was solid, as the defender kept Riyad Mahrez quiet in Porto.
Midfield: N’Golo Kante
The best player on the pitch in the final, N’Golo Kante produced an outstanding individual performance to inspire Chelsea to success.
The midfielder had been named as man of the match in both legs of Chelsea’s semi-final tie with Real Madrid and repeated the feat with an all-action final performance. Kante won more aerial duels (4) than any Chelsea team-mate, while he lead the game for duels won (11), won 100% of his tackles and completed 100% of his attempted take-ons.
🎬 Kanté’s 2021 final masterclass…
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 29, 2023
His ability to regain possession and drive forward was at the centre of Chelsea’s success, as the Frenchman came out on top in his duel with Kevin De Bruyne.
Jorginho’s poise in possession complimented the industry of Kante, with the Italian confident on the ball and purposeful with his passing.
He kept the ball well and found team-mates further forward with passes through lines. Jorginho followed Chelsea’s success in the Champions League with an influential role as Italy won that summer’s European Championship.
His performances for club and country saw him win the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award and finish third in the vote for the Ballon d’Or.
Midfield: Mason Mount
Mason Mount broke into the Chelsea team under Frank Lampard and was arguably the club’s most important player when Thomas Tuchel took charge.
Mount ended the 2020/21 campaign as Chelsea’s Player of the Season and had a crucial role in the club’s final success over Manchester City.
The absence of a recognised defensive midfielder in the City side allowed Mount space in which to operate and it was his penetrative pass that found Kai Havertz for the winner.
He was later substituted for Mateo Kovacic as Chelsea looked to tighten up the midfield.
Forward: Kai Havertz
Kai Havertz had somewhat underwhelmed during a challenging debut season at Chelsea, but etched his name into club folklore with a Champions League final winner.
Havertz had struggled to live up to expectations after a £72m move from Bayer Leverkusen, but was excellent in the final as he occupied the Manchester City backline with intelligent runs and sharp touches.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 10, 2023
His moment came three minutes before half-time, as Havertz collected a defence-splitting pass from Mason Mount to round Ederson and open the scoring. Remarkably, neither side managed anther shot on target following Havertz’s goal, while it was the German’s first ever Champions League goal.
Forward: Timo Werner
Timo Werner’s final performance was perhaps a microcosm of his Chelsea career.
The forward was endearingly industrious but wasteful around goal, spurning a succession of chances to find the back of the net before being substituted for Christian Pulisic.
The German’s hard work and runs in behind posed problems all evening for Manchester City, but he lacked a clinical touch at crucial times.
Werner scored 23 goals in 89 appearances for Chelsea, but returned to former club RB Leipzig in 2022 after two underwhelming seasons at Stamford Bridge.