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The end of an era for Chelsea: See how Roman Abramovich transformed the club

The end of an era for Chelsea: See how Roman Abramovich transformed the club

The deal to sell Chelsea to American businessman Todd Boehly and his associates marks the end of an era for Bluespropelled into the European football elite by millionaire Roman Abramovich, now an unwelcome figure.

Abramovich’s arrival

By buying the club from the capital in 2003, for 140 million pounds (R$ 877.8 million at the current price), the Russian oligarch inaugurated the reign of owners with unlimited financial resources, which changed the face of European and world football.

At this time Abramovich was not very well known, but already immensely wealthy. The short, white-bearded 55-year-old millionaire, who owns a massive 15-bedroom residence in London’s Kensington borough, became incredibly wealthy in the 1990s after the arrival of the market economy in Russia.

Born in Saratov, southern Russia, orphaned at an early age and raised by an uncle, young Roman grew up in the north of the country and studied mathematics in Moscow, before launching himself into the business world.

He was just 30 years old when the Russian government sold a majority of shares in the vast Sibneft oil group for $100 million, a fraction of its real value. Abramovich would resell them in 2005 to the public giant Gazprom for 13 billion dollars (R$ 66 billion at the current price).

fast rise

While diversifying its investments, from oil to aluminum, passing through automobiles, it also forged ties with important politicians, financing, along with other businessmen, the reelection campaign of President Boris Yeltsin in 1996.

He then entered the circle of oligarchs with close ties to the president’s entourage. But he has kept a healthy distance from influence struggles, thus escaping the fate of his own business partner Boris Berezovski, a fierce critic of power, found dead in his 2013 home in England.



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In 2003, he decided to launch himself in the sport. After thinking about Tottenham for a while, he opted for Chelsea, a club in dire financial straits that only had one English league under their belt and a handful of FA Cups.

The rise was quick, with a first Premier title in 2005 and another in 2006. A “miracle” that can be explained by the colossal sums spent, in the image of the salary of 4.2 million pounds (R$ 26.3 million in the current) offered in 2004 to attract José Mourinho, who had just won the Champions League with Porto.

In the first preseason, the Blues spent almost a billion reais on signings and practically the same the following year. Important sums today, but back then they were much more.

Chelsea on top of the world

Abramovich is as ruthless as a sports manager as he is as a businessman. In 19 years as president of the club, thirteen coaches have been there.

The results followed with more league titles (2010, 2015, 2017), five FA Cups and three League Cups.
In 2012, Chelsea rose to the throne of European football by winning the Champions League, just like in 2021, to which it added the Club World Cup.



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Compared to other millionaire owners like the sheikhs who have controlled Manchester City since 2008, Abramovich’s financial commitment has continued.

After remaining loyal to the club, he pre-empted British government sanctions following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, putting the club up for sale on 2 March.


Source: Gazetaesportiva

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