Juliano Belletti joined Chelsea on the 23rd of August 2007, when the club officially announced a three-year contract, signing from Barcelona for an undisclosed fee.
He made his Premier League debut for Chelsea on the 25th August 2007 when he came on as a substitute in the 64th minute against Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge. He made his first start for away at Aston Villa.
Following the departure of Jose Mourinho, Belletti became a regular starter in the right-back position for Premier League, Champions League, and Carling Cup games, facing competition from Paulo Ferreira and Michael Essien for his place in the team.
In his first season at Chelsea, Belletti scored two goals, both shots from long-range, the first away at Wigan Athletic in November 2007 and the second at Stamford Bridge against Tottenham Hotspur in January 2008. The latter was eventually voted by Chelsea supporters as Chelsea Goal of the Season in 2007-08.
Jose Bosingwa’s arrival at the start of the 2008-09 season, meant Belletti had to relinquish the right-back position at Stamford Bridge. However, Luiz Felipe Scolari instead deployed Belletti as a utility player, providing valuable back-up in the central midfield, defensive midfield and right wing positions.
His long-range shots have given him cult status among Chelsea supporters, with screams of ‘shout’ whenever Belletti was in range and having his name sung to the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army hit.
In October 2008, he added to his collection of spectacular goals with a powerful shot from 30 yards into the top corner against Middlesbrough at the Riverside, his fourth league goal for the club.
Belletti scored his third goal of the 2008-09 season with a last minute header against Stoke City, to draw the teams level before team-mate Frank Lampard scored the winner in the dying seconds.
Belletti came on as a substitute in the FA Cup final against Portsmouth. Despite committing a foul which earned Portsmouth a penalty, Belletti was ultimately on the winning team as Chelsea won 1-0.
Belletti has made a total 54 appearance scoring 5 goals (18.52%) in all competitions.
Juliano Belletti’s Chelsea Honours:
* Premier League: 1 (2009-10)
* FA Cup: 2 (2008-09, 2009-10)
* FA Community Shield: 1 (2009)
Juliano, also boasts a World Cup winners medal from 2002 and the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona in 2005/06. Similar to many of his Chelsea colleagues, he also won back to back league titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06 with Barcelona in ‘La Liga’
Juliano will be available on a free transfer from July, shortly after his 34th Birthday, after completing his three year contract with the club.
He will long remain a cult hero and TheChels.org would like to wish him well for the future.