Watching the Netherlands-Belgium game last night with its plethora of Belgians who play, or have played, for Chelsea, a chance conversation led to a challenge to pick an eleven of such players.
I tried but I needed to take a little poetic licence in order to field a full team; I did this by adding a couple of players with Chelsea links who have played in the Belgian league. As my challenger, @lebiere, reasoned, finding defenders was always going to be tough. Mind you, it’s not easy finding Belgian defenders anywhere.
Here’s the team I came up with, in a topical 3-4-3 formation (fees are approximate):
Thibaut Courtois (24) – needs no introduction; signed from Genk for €9 million; has recently had some criticism but now having a run of clean sheets.
Lamisha Musonda (24) – eldest of three brothers who have all been on Chelsea’s books. Lamisha played in the Chelsea youth team and was recently seen having a trial at Real Betis.
Tika Musonda (22) – the middle of the three brothers, also played for the Chelsea youth squad but had major problems with injuries. Believed to be without a club at the moment.
Cristian Cuevas (21) – Chilean U20 international who joined Chelsea in 2013 for €4 million; has been on loan to several clubs and is now a regular at Sint Truiden.
Charly Musonda (20) – the reason why Anderlecht signed three brothers from Anderlecht; said to be the most talented Belgian of his generation, joined Real Betis on loan in January.
Kevin De Bruyne (25) – joined Chelsea from Genk for €9 million in 2012 but only played three games before being loaned out Werder Bremen. Eventually joined Manchester City – from Wolfsburg – for a big fee.
Thorgan Hazard (23) – joined Chelsea in 2012 from Lens for a fee of about €500,000. Never played for the first team and joined Borussia Monchengladbach last year for 8 million euros. Chelsea have a buy-back clause.
Victorien Angban (20) – Ivory Coast international who joined Chelsea in 2012 aged 15 as a trialist. Signed professionally last year and spent a year at Sint Truiden where he was sent off three times.
Michy Batshuayi (23) – like many players had a brief spell at Anderlecht but came to the fore at Standard Liege; moved to Marseille and eventually to Chelsea for 35 million euros.
Romelu Lukaku (23) – joined Chelsea aged 18 in 2011 after bagging a lot of goals in the Belgian league (33 in 73 games); never settled at Chelsea and after a few loan spells, joined Everton for €34 million in 2014.
Eden Hazard (25) – never played in Belgium but played over 100 games for Lille, capped for Belgium aged 17, joined Chelsea in 2012 for a fee of €38 million.
Joao Rodriguez (20) – Columbian U20 international forward who joined Chelsea in 2013 and has been on loan to seven clubs including Sint Truiden where he only started one game.