Joe Cole's Career XI

JOE COLE HANGS UP HIS BOOTS

We've seen some incredibly talented players come through the youth academies of various clubs over the years but there's not been many with as much technical ability as Joe Cole. He burst through the West Ham youth system at a young age and quickly established himself in the first team before moving onto Chelsea, where he enjoyed great success. There he won 3 Premier League titles & 2 FA Cups, becoming a fans favourite and cementing himself in the England team in the process.

He produced some incredible moments for both club and country, with his goal against Sweden in the 2006 FIFA World Cup one of the best ever scored by an England player at a major tournament. Well today he finally waved goodbye to the playing side of football with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, where he's seen out the final two years of his career. Cole's played with some magnificent players over the years and we've put together what we believe is his all-time career XI - check it out below.

Joe Cole Career XI

BETWEEN THE STICKS - PETR CECH

Petr Cech

Played with Cole: Chelsea

In goal it was a pretty easy choice for us, with Petr Cech the standout candidate. The Czech Republic international played with Cole at Chelsea and the pair enjoyed incredible success together, with Cech providing the foundations to Jose Mourinho's & Carlo Ancelotti's dominant sides. Cech was the goalkeeper for the Chelsea side that conceded a Premier League record 15 goals in the 2004/05 season and he's kept the most clean sheets in the competitions history - with a staggering 161 to his name. He was also one of the heroes of their Champions League win back in 2012, where they beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena to lift their first European crown. Now approaching the end of his career with Arsenal, Cech will be remembered as one of the PL's & Chelsea's all-time greats.

AT THE BACK - BRANISLAV IVANOVIC, JOHN TERRY, RIO FERDINAND & ASHLEY COLE

Branislav Ivanovic

Played with Cole: Chelsea

At right-back it was a tough choice, with Gary Neville pushing Branislav Ivanovic hard for this spot but we couldn't look past the tough tackling Serbian. When he arrived at Chelsea from Spartak Moscow it was a pretty low key transfer, with barely anyone in the Premier League knowing who he was. But that all soon changed, he reverted from a dominant centre-back into a bombarding full-back which in-turn transformed his game. His powerful runs and knack for scoring important goals made him arguably the PL's best right-back between 2008-17, scoring 22 goals from full-back for the Blues which is very impressive.

John Terry

Played with Cole: Chelsea & England

An absolute no brainer for the first centre-back slot in our side is Chelsea legend John Terry. The 37 year-old spent 23 years on the books at Stamford Bridge and captained Chelsea to every honour available in club football. He saw the club transform under Roman Abramovich, with their spending power taking them to new heights but despite all the new faces that came in, Terry remained at the heart of everything which is a testament to just how good he was. He's a player Chelsea have found it immensely difficult to replace and his absence will be felt for sometime.

Wayne Rooney John Terry

Rio Ferdinand

Played with Cole: West Ham & England

One of the finest centre-backs to ever play the game in the Premier League and someone Joe Cole knows very well is up next, Rio Ferdinand. Another product of the impressive West Ham United academy alongside Cole, Ferdinand worked his way up the ladder with the Hammers before moving onto Leeds and Manchester United - where he became a club legend. Ferdinand would be a dream for any manager, a monster physically, ridiculously composed and had the technical ability to pay the ball out from the back with ease. Like Terry he has a stacked medal collection and he also had the honour of captaining England - top player.

Ashley Cole:

Played with Cole: Chelsea & England

The final part of our four man backline comes in the shape of Ashley Cole, who's arguably the best left-back that England has ever produced. Joe's namesake developed a reputation for his bombarding runs down the left for Chelsea, Arsenal and England along with with being defensively sound - making him the all round package. Cole's glittering career really flourished when he made the controversial move from Highbury to Stamford Bridge back in 2006 but after seeing what he achieved no one can argue with it. 9 honours with Chelsea with includes the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League and 107 England caps speak for themselves - sensational career.

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IN THE MIDDLE - CLAUDE MAKÈLÈLÈ, STEVEN GERRARD & FRANK LAMPARD

Claude Makèlèlè

Played with Cole: Chelsea

Anchoring our defence is none other than the mercurial Claude Makèlèlè, the man so good they named a position after him. Being the holding player never used to be a particularly fashionable position but this guy was that good he re-defined the role, achieving great success with both Real Madrid and Chelsea. He ended his career with 14 major honours but what he's remembered for is how he revolutionised defensive midfielders, his energy, determination and ability to win the ball back saw him change the outlook on this position not just in the Premier League but around Europe - which has led to players such as Javier Mascherano, Fernandinho and N'Golo Kante coming over and making a huge impact.

Steven Gerrard

Played with Cole: Liverpool & England

Another Premier League legend and another player Cole will know extremely well, Steven Gerrard. This guy will be remembered by followers of the top flight for a number of reasons, but mainly because of just how good he was. Gerrard spearheaded Liverpool over the years to domestic cup success along with their incredible Champions League victory over AC Milan in Istanbul back in 2005, dragging them back from 3-0 down at HT to lift the trophy somehow. He rated Joe Cole highly and even claimed that he was 'better than Lionel Messi' when Liverpool signed him on a free transfer back in 2010 but unfortunately it didn't work out too well for him on Merseyside. Gerrard played in some poor Liverpool sides but he still managed to drag them to success and if he was still around today under Jurgen Klopp they could've been scarily good - a world class player.

Steven Gerrard Liverpool

Frank Lampard

Played with Cole: West Ham, Chelsea & England

The final part of our three man midfield comes in the form of one of the Premier League's greatest ever goalscorers - Frank Lampard. Despite playing in midfield he managed to score a staggering 177 PL goals, putting him 4th in the all-time standings ahead of the likes of Robbie Fowler, Thierry Henry and Sergio Aguero which says it all. Similar to John Terry, Lampard was at Chelsea when they started flexing their financial muscles but remained an ever present, with his driving runs from the middle of the park and ability to score important goals making him a mainstay. He won every club honour available with the Blues along with picking up 106 caps with England.

ATTACK - EDEN HAZARD, WAYNE ROONEY & DIDIER DROGBA

Eden Hazard

Played with Cole: Lille

After Cole's disappointing first season with Liverpool he was shipped out on loan to Ligue 1, joining Champions League side Lille. There he linked up with the soon to be Chelsea man Eden Hazard, who was in his final season in France. In the 2011/12 campaign he enjoyed the most prolific season of his career, netting 22 goals in all competitions and since coming to the Premier League he's showcased everything that he's about. His pace, trickery, vision and technical ability have seen him win 2 PL titles along with the PFA Player of the Year award back in 2014/15 and he's currently playing some of the best football he ever has - spearheading Chelsea's latest assault under Maurizio Sarri.

Wayne Rooney

Played with Cole: England

This was a real tough decision, but we feel that we've made the right choice in Wayne Rooney. He was pushed hard by Luis Suarez who played with Cole at Liverpool but Rooney's level of consistency in the Premier League & the national team over the years made him our go-to-guy. Now at the age of 33, Rooney can look back on a magnificent glittered career which saw him scoop an incredible 16 major honours with Manchester United, along with becoming the clubs all-time record goalscorer. But his accomplishments don't just start and end there, he may not have lifted any silverware with England but he also became the Three Lions' all-time top scorer along with captaining them at major tournaments and picking up 119 caps.

Wayne Rooney Euro 2004

Didier Drogba

Played with Cole: Chelsea

The final part of our XI is the ultimate big game player, Didier Drogba. One of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen and an absolute nightmare for opposition defenders, the powerful Ivorian had it all. He was the face of Chelsea's dominance from 2004-15 - with his goals and presence playing a massive part in the Blues winning 5 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups and the Champions League. No one really knew who he was when Chelsea shelled out £24 million to sign him from Marseille but that now looks like absolute peanuts - a true PL great and Chelsea legend.

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