Seven stars who quit Chelsea and became world class including Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah… and Tiago

EVERY time Kevin De Bruyne or Mohamed Salah puts in a Man of the Match performance, Chelsea fans are hit with a pinch of sadness.

Unfortunately for Blues supporters, those two are now undisputed world superstars.

But, before they reached their current elite level, they were once allowed to leave Stamford Bridge as underplayed, underachieving youngsters.

And they're not the only two either.

We've taken a look at SEVEN players who could be starring for new boss Thomas Tuchel if they had not failed to make the grade at Chelsea before going on to become superstars elsewhere:


NOW quite possibly the best midfielder on the planet, it's barely-believable De Bruyne was once considered a Chelsea misfit.

Having signed from Belgian side Genk in 2011-12, the now-Manchester City star played just two Premier League games for the Blues.

On the periphery of the first-team squad, De Bruyne was loaned to Werder Bremen, before being sold to Wolfsburg for just £16.7m.

There, De Bruyne's class shone through and his career took off, joining City for £55million in 2015.

The pass-master has won two Premier League trophies at City in easily the club's greatest era and even scored against the Blues in their 3-1 win at the Bridge earlier this month.


SALAH joined Chelsea from Basel in 2014 – but played just 13 times in the league, scoring twice.

In 2015 and 2016, the Egyptian was loaned out to Fiorentina and Roma – before joining the latter permanently, in a deal worth around £11m.

After just one season in the Italian capital, Liverpool were surprise suitors, bringing Salah back to the Premier League in a deal worth £36.7m.

In his first season at the Reds, Salah broke the Premier League record for most goals in a 38-game season.

In his second season, he won the Champions League.

And in his third – and most-recent – season, Salah inspired Liverpool to Premier League success.

Salah is now easily ranked as one of the world's best forwards – and will always be the one who got away from Chelsea.


AT the time of his arrival in 2004, some Chelsea fans thought they had bought the hottest prospect in world football.

A brighter light than even Cristiano Ronaldo at that time.

For a while that looked to be the case, with the Flying Dutchman enjoying a thrilling first season – winning player of the month in his first month of action – on his way to helping the Blues win their first title in 50 years.

But over the next couple of years Robben and Jose Mourinho's relationship soured and it was clear he wanted to be elsewhere.

His reputation as a diver didn't help, nor did the perception he was unwilling to play through pain or work hard for the team.

Initially his sale was seen as a good bit of business – a decent fee came in and he wasn't exactly pulling up trees at Real Madrid.

But then he went to Bayern Munich and never looked back.

Robben became one of the world's best wingers in Bavaria, winning eight Bundesliga titles in ten seasons as well as the 2013 Champions League as part of a famous treble.

The sight of him cutting in from the right on his left foot was as inevitable as it was deadly – every left-back in the world knew it was coming but was powerless to stop it.


AFTER joining Chelsea from Anderlecht as a youngster in 2011, Lukaku was tipped for greatness.

However, he played just ten times in the Premier League, was loaned to West Brom and ultimately sold to Everton.

Lukaku immediately showed his potential and scored 53 Premier League goals in just 110 games.

The Belgian moved to Manchester United in a £75m deal where he maintained a decent scoring record, but generally underwhelmed.

Now, Lukaku is finally living up to his incredible promise, shining at Inter Milan under another ex-Chelsea man, boss Antonio Conte.

Lukaku was on target for the Italian side last night as they defeated rivals Milan – and he was involved in a furious spat with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.


THE Dutch defender joined Chelsea's youth ranks from Feyenoord in 2011, before moving to the senior squad a year later.

But Ake made just seven appearances for the Blues in the Premier League and was loaned out to Reading, Watford and Bournemouth.

Ake eventually found a permanent home on the south coast and became a star for the Cherries.

Bournemouth fought hard to keep Ake for three years – in which he played over 100 times in the Premier League.

But with Manchester United and City both knocking, the Cherries eventually cashed in to the tune of £40m following their relegation in the summer.

Now at the Etihad, Ake is a star of both Pep Guardiola's City and European force Holland who seems destined to only shine brighter as time goes on.


SIGNED from now-defunct Slovak side Kosice in 2009, Matic was tipped to become an attacking midfield superstar at the Blues.

The Serbian midfielder had played just twice in the Premier League and was loaned out to Vitesse in Holland.

But after two years – and a switch to a more defensive role – Matic was sold to Benfica as part of the 2011 deal that saw David Luiz arrive at Stamford Bridge.

But after starring at Benfica, Chelsea splashed out £21m – nearly 20 times what they initially bought him for – to re-sign him in 2014.

Matic would later join Man Utd, in 2017 – where he still plays to this day.


THE floppy-haired Portuguese midfielder does not have the same glittering profile some of the other players on this list boast.

And his departure from the Blues after an indifferent single season hardly left fans begging for his return.

But make no mistake, for a long time at Atletico Madrid he was one of the very best defensive midfielders in world football.

First loaned before being bought by Diego Simeone, vice-captain Tiago and skipper Gabi formed one of the most stubborn midfield partnerships modern football has seen.

The Rojiblanco stunned world football when they upset the LaLiga apple cart to end Barcelona and Real Madrid's dominance, winning the title in 2014.

It was the club's first title in 18 years, made all the more remarkable by Atletico reaching the final of the Champions League that same season, where they were a 93rd-minute equaliser away from winning.

Tiago was there for it all – playing nearly 250 games to help Simeone win the Spanish title, the Europa League, the Copa del Rey and reach two Champions League finals.

Simeone summed it up when the midfielder was out injured: "It's hard to find another Tiago."

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