Albert Ferrer’s arrival at Chelsea coincided with an exciting era at Stamford Bridge. The club had recently won both the FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup and manager Gianluca Vialli was definitely sending Chelsea in the right direction. The signing of a Spanish international right back from European giants Barcelona signalled yet more progression for the London club and Ferrer enjoyed 5 years at Stamford Bridge where he became very popular with the Chelsea faithful. So whatever happened to the little Spaniard after he left the Bridge?
Ferrer began his professional career with the Catalan club in the Barcelona’s B side and was sent on loan to fellow La Liga club Tenerife in 1989, where he made his league debut aged 19. Ferrer then returned to Barcelona and cemented his place in the right back position for the following eight years. He was to play an ever present role in the Barcelona side and during his time at the Nou Camp won an astonishing 5 leagues, a European Cup, a Cup Winners Cup and two domestic cups amongst other smaller honours.
In 1998, despite still featuring heavily in Barcelona’s side, Ferrer left the Catalan club for west London, joining Chelsea for a fee of £2.2 million. He quickly established himself in the side and helped Chelsea enjoy their most successful league season for years as they challenged for the title, eventually finishing in a Champions League qualifying spot for the first time in the clubs history. The defender, known as ‘Chapi’ to fans, was notorious for his fast and tough tackling as well as his ability to fly down the flanks and support the attacks. Ferrer rarely found his name on the score sheet, in fact he did only once in his Chelsea career, but this is not to say that he wasn’t an attacking player, just that his focus was solely based on assisting via his dangerous crosses. Ferrer enjoyed several more years at Chelsea eventually falling victim to Gianluca Vialli’s squad rotation system and he left the club in 2003, having played 113 games for Chelsea. He retired shortly after at the age of 33.
The Spaniard then disappeared from the radar for a while before again springing to prominence on our television screens through Spanish football. He is a regular on Revista La Liga as well as live La Liga matches and his punditry skills are rated higher than many of the other guests (especially Michel Salgado and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink who are terrible!) His friendly attitude coupled with his vast knowledge of the game has made him a popular face amongst Spanish football. Much like many other Chelsea legends, Ferrer can also occasionally be spotted at the Bridge during half time shows, where his presence is always appreciated by the Chelsea faithful given the service he gave to the club.