Abramovich's obsession - The trials & tribulations of a decade-long path to Chelsea's ultimate glory

There have been some dramatic highs and disappointing lows since the Russian billionaire took over the Blues and before they achieved Champions League success
By Chris Myson

Chelsea won their first Champions League title with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich on Saturday night.

Since taking over the club in 2003, Roman Abramovich had his sights set on winning Europe's biggest club trophy and he has finally achieved that goal.

It has not been plain sailing getting there, though, with some significant highs contrasted by some dramatic lows over the past decade.

As the Blues celebrate their crowning glory, Goal.com look back at how they got there under the Russian's stewardship

Purchase of club & first signings

Abramovich buys Chelsea from Ken Bates for £140 milllion in July 2003 and immediately changes the face of English football. The rich oligarch splashes the cash on a number of new signings. Glen Johnson is the first player he brings in, quickly followed by the likes of Claude Makelele, Juan Sebastian Veron, Joe Cole, Hernan Crespo and Damien Duff.

Hiring 'The Special One'

After a second-place finish under Claudio Ranieri, Abramovich wields the axe and hires up-and-coming manager Jose Mourinho, who had just masterminded Porto's shock success in the 2004 Champions League.

The club make a number of key signings, bringing in the likes of Petr Cech, Ricardo Carvalho and Didier Drogba, who along with stalwards John Terry and Frank Lampard, will play a huge part in shaping the Russian's era at Stamford Bridge.

First Premier League title

Mourinho declares he is 'The Special One' after arriving in England and promises to win the league within three seasons. He achieves that in the first year and Chelsea celebrate their first title for 50 years.

Further trophies under Jose

The era of success under Mourinho continues as Chelsea defend their league title, win the FA Cup and two League Cups over the course of his spell.

Shevchenko saga

Cracks start to show in the Mourinho/Abramovich relationship. Andriy Shevchenko is bought for a huge fee of £30m as the Russian tries to assemble a squad capable of winning the Champions League.

There are rumours in the press that the manager did not agree with the signing, which was forced upon him by Abramovich, and as Shevchenko struggles to perform and results on the pitch take a turn for the worse, things are not so rosy at the Bridge.

End of an era as Avram comes in

Mourinho leaves the club to much outcry from the club's fans and Abramovich elects to replace him with backroom staff member Avram Grant. The Israeli does a decent job, the club narrowly miss out on the Premier League title and reach the Champions League final.

Moscow heartbreak

Just as it looks like the club are about to achieve their ultimate goal of winning the Champions League, they are denied in heartbreaking fashion by rivals Manchester United.

Captain Terry misses the chance to win the trophy from the spot and the Red Devils go on to win a dramatic penalty shoot-out in Moscow. Avram pays the price for defeat and loses his job.

Scolari & Hiddink

In the summer of 2008, Abramovich brings in World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari, but he only lasts until February as he fails to deliver consistent results in an expensive appointment that went badly wrong.

Guus Hiddink comes in and steadies the ship until the end of the year, winning the FA Cup, but he cannot stay on due to international management commitments.

Fury in the Battle of the Bridge

The curse of the Champions League strikes again in a controversial semi-final against Barcelona. Leading the tie 1-0 on aggregate, the Blues feel they are denied a string of clear penalties by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo and Andres Iniesta sends Barca through with a last-gasp away goal.

Furious Chelsea players take their protestations too far and many of them receive fines and suspensions for their behaviour. Barcelona go on to beat Manchester United in the final and start their own era of success.

Ancelotti's arrival & the Double

Carlo Ancelotti comes in and Chelsea win The Double for the first time in their history during the Italian's debut season. It is their first league title since Mourinho's exit as the increasingly influential senior playing core of Terry, Lampard, Drogba & Co. star.

Torres signed for £50m

In a move reminiscent of the Shevchenko signing, Abramovich splashes out £50m in the sensational signing of Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.

However, the move is initially a staggering failure, as the Spaniard struggles for form and Ancelotti, amid rumours he was not keen on signing the front-man, struggles to fit him into the team alongside the established Drogba.

End of Ancelotti & arrival of AVB

Ancelotti is promptly sacked after a second-place finish and a trophy-less campaign, with his struggles in Europe ultimately costing him his job. Abramovich decides to go for youth in replacing the Italian, bringing in Andre Villas-Boas, who had just won the Europa League with Porto, in an expensive move that cost the club around £13m.

AVB out, RDM in

After a dismal run of results in the league and a 3-1 defeat to Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie, Villas-Boas is axed less than a year into his reign. Abramovich appoints No.2 Roberto Di Matteo on an interim basis until the end of the season with morale at the lowest it has been during his tenure at the club.

Camp Nou drama & FA Cup success

A remarkable change in fortunes under Di Matteo sees Chelsea turnaround the Napoli tie, beat Benfica and record an astonishing two-leg victory over defending champions Barcelona to reach the Champions League final.

The Blues are unable to salvage a top-four finish in the Premier League, but secure FA Cup glory with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the final at Wembley and there are calls for Di Matteo to get the job on a full-time basis.

Chelsea seal ultimate glory

In a remarkable final against Bayern Munich, Di Matteo's side win their first-ever Champions League on penalties after a pulsating 1-1 draw in 120 minutes.

A goal down with minutes to go, Drogba heads an equaliser in the final moments of the match. In extra-time, Cech saves a Robben penalty and a topsy-turvy shoot-out goes in the Blues' favour, ending years of frustration and heartbreak in the competition.

Abramovich finally gets his hands on the trophy he has always wanted and Chelsea look to the future with confidence knowing they have finally broken their European duck.

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