Former Valencia and Barcelona midfielder tips Jose Mourinho's Blues to progress to the Champions League semi-final or even the final.
"I think Chelsea could be the dark horse of the competition," a two-time Champions League finalist said after witnessing Jose Mourinho's Blues dispose of Tuesday evening opponents Galatasaray with a seeming ease.
Chelsea join Bayern Munich, Paris Saint Germain, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, while two of Borussia Dortmund or Zenit St Petersburg and Manchester United or Olympiacos will make up the final entrants.
Bayern remain the favourites with the bookmakers to claim the title in what would be a historic win as it would represent the first time a club successfully retains the trophy in the modern format of the competition, while Real and Barca are also both tipped to go far.
Gaizka Mendieta, who spent a season on loan at Barcelona, is quoted by Sky Sports to have said: "Everyone is talking about Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich but there has to be a team that no one expects to get to the semi-finals or final.
"This has happened in every Champions League season - and why not Chelsea?"
In Mourinho, Chelsea have a proven success in the competition as the Portuguese has won the tournament twice - as an underdog with FC Porto and also whilst he was in charge of Internazionale. The Blues also have great pedigree themselves in Europe now having lifted the trophy in 2012, one year before securing the Europa League.
"They've got Mourinho, with the experience he has in this competition, and this Chelsea team is very competitive and solid.
"No one wants to draw Real Madrid or Barcelona but I don't think whoever gets Chelsea would be happy. Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are teams that over two legs, when they're playing the second game at home, you never know. Atletico have already beaten Real Madrid and Barcelona so when you get to that level any team could be in the semi-final."