21 League apps (+6 as sub), 6 goals
|Romanian playboy Adrian Mutu could, and should, have been a Chelsea
favourite for years to come; that he is destined to be a forgotten man
at Stamford Bridge is a sad and frustrating example of a hugely talented
individual throwing it all away. Signed from Italian club Parma for a
mighty £15.8m in August 2003, Mutu's initial impact was simply stunning.
A magnificent goal on his debut against Leicester City was followed by
further classy strikes against Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur,
his brace in a 4-2 win over Chelsea's London rivals highlighting a
blossoming understanding with Damien Duff which appeared to be the start
of an irresistible and exciting partnership. Sadly, though, Mutu's
meteoric rise to prominence in the English game was followed by an
equally rapid fall from grace.
Rumours that he was unpopular with the
other members of Claudio Ranieri's squad were supplemented by stories of
unsavoury behaviour emanating from behind the Stamford Bridge scenes.
For a while, Mutu was able to paper over the cracks, finding the net
during a famous Champions League victory over Italian giants Lazio, and
striking impressively during FA Cup clashes with Watford and Arsenal.
However, that goal at Highbury would prove to be his last of the season
and his last for the club. Indeed, as Chelsea battled unsuccessfully
against Monaco in the Champions League semi-final, one notable,
unexplained absentee was Adrian Mutu. Portuguese tough-guy Jose Mourinho
took over from Ranieri in the summer of 2004, and welcomed Mutu back to
the fold at a time when the former manager was penning a book in which
he described Mutu as a 'bad egg'.
Nevertheless, Mourinho was prepared to
give Mutu a shot at redemption, and the Romanian appeared twice as a
substitute early in the season, before further lurid tabloid tales were
followed by the news that he had tested positive for cocaine use.
Chelsea, who had previously confronted Mutu over such allegations only
to receive a firm denial, terminated the player's contract even before
the FA had hit him with a seven-month suspension from football. It was a
sad and tawdry end to a brief career that had initially promised great
things. (Kelvin Barker)
1996–1998 Argeș Pitești 41 (11)
1998–1999 Dinamo București 33 (22)
1999–2000 Internazionale 10 (0)
2000–2002 Verona 57 (16)
2002–2003 Parma 31 (18)
2003–2004 Chelsea 27 (10)
2005–2006 Juventus 33 (7)
2006–2011 Fiorentina 112 (54)
2011–2012 Cesena 28 (8)
2012–2014 Ajaccio 37 (11)
2014 Petrolul Ploiești 14 (4)
2015–2016 Pune City 10 (4)
2016 ASA Târgu Mureș 4 (0)
Total 437 games (161 goals)