The Blues looked anything but European champions in what was one of their most clueless performances since Roman Abramovich first began his quest for the greatest prize in club football.
The Russian also spent €100m this summer in a bid to ensure he would not have to wait another eight years for more Champions League glory.
But it was the one who got away who came back to haunt him on transfer deadline day this evening as former target Falcao took advantage of some inept defending and tactical naiveté to plunder a first-half treble, with Joao Miranda piling on the misery before Gary Cahill grabbed a consolation.
Falcao’s hat-trick was his second in four days and saw him completely outshine Fernando Torres, who endured a nightmare reunion with his boyhood idols just 24 hours after declaring his 18 months of hell was a thing of the past.
CHELSEA: Cech; Ivanovic; Cole (Bertrand 89), Luiz, Cahill, Ramires (Oscar 46); Lampard, Mikel, Hazard; Torres, Mata (Sturridge 81).
ATLETICO MADRID: Courtois; Godin, Filipe, Miranda, Mario Suarez; Jorge Koke (Raul Garcia 81), Turan, Fernandez Gabi, Juanfran; Adrian (Rodriguez 56’) , Falcao (Emre 87).
Referee: D Skomina (Slovakia).