The best players who have left Chelsea on a free transfer with Antonio Rudiger heading to Real Madrid, including Lampard and Drogba.

Chelsea are facing a free transfer immigration.

German international Antonio Rudiger moves to Real Madrid, after failing to agree a contract with the Blues.

Antonio Rudiger heads to the exit door at Chelsea

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Antonio Rudiger heads to the exit door at Chelseacredit: Getty

While fellow defender Andreas Christensen has also been named to La Liga – Barcelona leads the group hunting for the Danish star’s signature.

But the Premier League giants have done this dance before – they have lost a handful of great players to free transfers in the past.

These are the best who left for nothing over the years.

Frank Lampard

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Lampard, Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer, signed for New York City in 2014.

However, rather than wait until January for the start of the US season – he was controversially loaned to Manchester City for fitness.

Amazingly, his first goal for City came against Chelsea, which made Lampard cry.

Didier Drogba

Drogba’s last kick for Chelsea won his first ever West London title in the Champions League against Bayern Munich in the final penalty shootout.

His next kick, having moved for nothing, was for the Chinese team Shanghai Shenhua.

But in 2014, he returned to Stamford Bridge with Jose Mourinho’s blessing in order to “make more history”.

Hilarious, he once again left the Montreal Impact for free after 40 games and seven goals.

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba left the club twice for free

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Chelsea legend Didier Drogba left the club twice for freecredit: Getty

John Terry

Loyal server Terry left Chelsea for Aston Villa in 2017, after 717 appearances for the Blues.

His final season in football nearly earned him his new side promotion from the championship.

He later joined the technical staff of Aston Villa, before leaving the club in 2021.

John Terry's time at Stamford Bridge ended in 2017

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John Terry’s time at Stamford Bridge ended in 2017credit: Getty

Ashley Cole

After winning the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and European League titles, among other titles, Cole was made in 2014.

He had already lost his first-team spot to Cesar Azpilicueta in his final season at the club, so it comes as no surprise that he was on the list of players who left the club once their contracts expired.

Embarking on a new adventure, he spent a season in Rome – before a stint at LA Galaxy, and then finished his career at Derby County.

Ashley Cole won the Premier League with the Blues before leaving for New Pastures

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Ashley Cole won the Premier League with the Blues before leaving for New Pasturescredit: Getty

Claude Makelele

The French midfielder won two league titles with Chelsea before leaving the club in 2008.

It seems he ran his race in the Premier League, but in the new club Paris Saint-Germain he found a new lease on life.

He won the Coupe de France in 2010, then was appointed assistant manager for Carlo Ancelotti from 2011-2013.

Claude Makelele left the Blues after five seasons at Stamford Bridge

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Claude Makelele left the Blues after five seasons at Stamford Bridgecredit: Getty

Salomon Kalou

The superhero Kalou was often the unlikely hero at Chelsea.

But, due to his desire to play for the first team on a regular basis, he was released in 2012 and soon joined the French club Lille.

In Ligue 1, he was a huge success, scoring 34 goals in two full seasons.

The Ivory Coast star finished his career at Hertha Berlin – he played 172 matches and scored 53 goals.

Interestingly enough, he didn’t win anything after he left our shores.

Super Super Salomon Kalou has moved to Lille for the first football team

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Super Super Salomon Kalou has moved to Lille for the first football teamCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Branislav Ivanovic

In ten seasons with Chelsea, Ivanovic rarely let the club down.

In 377 matches, he won everything – Premier League titles, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League too.

But, in his final season, cracks began to appear – and the Blues made the heartbreaking decision to cut Ivanovic.

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This was followed by a period in Zenit Saint Petersburg, where he won a league title and a Cup.

Ivanovic returned to the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion, before being released in 2021.



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