The move proved fruitful as he picked up Premier League and FA Cup trophies, while his international ambitions also took off with a starring role in the 2-0 win over Andorra in World Cup qualifying.
A stylish, technically sound player, Cole's versatility allows him to play in a variety of midfield roles, but his wage demands saw his contract run out at Stamford Bridge after winning the Double in 2009-10 and he was allowed to join Liverpool on a free.
That move did not prove successful, and a year after his arrival at Anfield he was allowed to depart on loan to join Ligue 1 champions Lille.
Strengths: A technically gifted player with the creativity to unlock a defence.
Weaknesses: Doesn't have a great deal of strength or tackling ability and can struggle for fitness. Also very weak in the air.
Career high: Winning his first Premier League title with Chelsea, the club he supported as a boy, in 2005.
Career low: Relegated with West Ham in 2003, the 21-year-old skipper could not keep his side up.
Style: A technical, creative midfielder.
Quotes: "I've always wanted to play abroad. The way Lille play reminds me a little bit of Barcelona. They pass the ball quickly and well. It will be a great challenge to play for a team that wants to progress" - Joe Cole, September 2011
Trivia: Cole was in the crowd to watch his favourite player, Paul Gascoigne, score a famous goal against Scotland at Wembley in Euro '96.
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