Cesar Azpilicueta wrote his name into Chelsea Football Club folklore, joining the 400 club- becoming the first overseas outfield player to do so for the Blues.
What a player he is- right back, left back or even center back. He has filled all these positions, and done so with ease. Whether it was under Rafa Benitez or Jose Mourinho and recently Frank Lampard, he has always been a vital part of any of those tenures. That’s testament to his consistency over the years.
A youth product of Osasuna, he spent three seasons in La Liga before switching to Marseille, winning four major honors with the French club. In the summer of 2012 he moved to Chelsea.
On the 24th of August 2012, Chelsea completed the signing of Azpilicueta from Marseille for £7 million.
He made his debut on the 25th of September 2012, starting in a 6-0 home win against Wolverhamton Wanders in a League Cup tie. He played his first Premier League game the following week, coming on as a substitute for Brainslav Ivanovic in a 4-1 success over Norwich at Stamford Bridge.
On the 3rd of November 2012, Azpilicueta made his first Premier League start against Swansea City in a 1-1 away draw. He scored his first competitive goal for Chelsea in a 2-0 victory against Arsenal on the 29th of October 2013 in the fourth round of the League Cup.
An epitome of reliability, durability and versatility, Jose Mourinho said, “Azpilicueta is a player I like a lot. I think a team with eleven Azpilicuetas would probably win the league (Champions League) because football is not just about pure talent.” At the end of the season he was voted Chelsea’s player’s Player of The Year.
With hard-work and commitment, he steadily climbed the ladder at the club and after the departure of club captain and legend John Terry, and in July 2017 he was appointed as the club’s vice-captain to Gary Cahill. After Cahill left, Azpilicueta was named the club’s captain ahead of the 2019/20 season.
On the 1st of January 2020, Azpilicueta marked his 100th appearance as club captain with a goal and a man of the match performance against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Now no longer a regular starter, with Reece James the preferred option, he still remains an important member on and off the field with his experience and title knowhow a very important asset to Frank Lampard’s young side.
One of the most reliable one-vs-one defenders in the Premier League as attested to by many past and present players, Gary Neville in 2014 described him as ‘near to perfect’ as possible.
“I’d say for consistency of performances, it would be one of the Chelsea lads and I’d probably say Azpilicueta.”
“For technical defending, not making a mistake, not being in the wrong position, not getting caught out, I don’t see him making a mistake. But Azpilicueta when I watch him, he’s near as to perfect as possible- he’s immaculate.”
This is a huge plus for the side, especially for young right backs Reece James and Tino Livramento; they’ll certainly learn a lot off him.
He may not play as often as he used to going without missing a minute in an entire season but he’ll surely leave/end his career as a Club Legend.
Club 400 tick, can he make club 500? You should never underestimate King Cesar.
Written by- Raphael (@finallyRaphael)
Cover photo- SportsMole