Who is Chelsea legend Ashley Cole?
Ashley Cole, who was born on 20 December 1980 in Stepney, is an English former professional footballer. Ashley played as a left-back for the Premier League clubs Chelsea and Arsenal.
Cole began his youth career at Arsenal and played 228 games for the Gunners. In summer 2006, after a protracted transfer saga, Ashley completed a move to rival club Chelsea.
The English defender was given the No.3 shirt at Stamford Bridge and played his first game for the Blues as a substitute for Wayne Bridge in their 2–1 victory over Charlton Athletic on 9 September.
Ashley was reportedly one of the footballers upset when Jose Mourinho was relieved of his position as the London club coach. In the 2011–12 campaign, Ashley won the seventh FA Cup of his career.
In the Champions League, the Englishman received praise for his role in the final with Bayern Munich in May 2012, both for his defending and for scoring in the decisive penalty shoot-out as the Blues won the club’s first European Cup.
Ashley again helped Chelsea win a European trophy during the 2012–13 campaign, playing in a 2–1 win against Benfica in the 2013 Europa League Final on 15 May. The English defender’s contract expired on 30 June 2014.
Ashley Cole’s international career
Ashley has played for the Three Lions at youth and senior levels. Cole was capped for the U-20 team at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship.
After only four games for the U21s, Ashley was fast-tracked into the Three Lions senior team, and Sven-Göran Eriksson handed the defender his senior international debut with Albania on 28 March 2001.
Cole played for the Three Lions at 2002, 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, UEFA Euro 2004 and UEFA Euro 2012. Ashley was also an ever-present for England in the 2006 World Cup.
By the end of 2008, Ashley had achieved 68 caps for the national team, all of which were starting games.
Cole won his 86th cap with Montenegro in October 2010, and with Kenny Sansom, Ashley is now England’s most-capped defender in history, an achievement which helped the full-back pick up the England Player of the Year award for 2010, according to a report, as voted for by supporters.
In February 2013, Cole earned his 100th cap as the Three Lions beat Brazil 2–1 at Wembley. In May 2014, Ashley announced his retirement from international football after being omitted from the Three Lions squad for the 2014 Mundial.